Carl Michael Smith

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Carl Michael Smith, who generally goes by the name Mike Smith, is the executive director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC). Gerry Baker serves as IOGCC's co-director and like Smith, passed through the government-industry revolving door to work for IOGCC.

"Independent Oilman"

The former Secretary of Energy of Oklahoma, Smith served as a second vice chairman in 1998 and vice chairman in 1999 of IOGCC, served as the Oklahoma Governor's appointee to the IOGCC from 1994-2002[1][2] and worked for the Bush Administration Department of Energy as head of fossil energy from 2002-2004 while the Administration was working on the Energy Policy Act of 2005.[3] The latter contained the Halliburton Loophole.

In announcing Smith to serve as Oklahoma's Secretary of Energy, not long before he became IOGCC's Oklahoma representative, Keating said Smith would bring an "independent oilman's perspective" to the gig.[4] Indeed, before becoming Secretary of Energy, Smith headed up the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association (OIPA) and before that spent decades working as an oil and gas industry attorney. He sat on Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association's board of directors from 1981 to 1995.[5]

In 2000, as an IOGCC official representative in Oklahoma, Smith denied any link between fracking and groundwater contamination.[6]

"Taxpayer Dollars to Benefit Industry"

Upon being hired as head of fossil energy for the U.S. Department of Energy, Smith made headlines for his honesty and straightforwardness.

"The biggest challenge is going to be how best to utilize taxpayer dollars to the benefit of industry," Smith said in a speech. "Our tax code is not real favorable to the petroleum and pipeline sector of our industry and I'm hoping whatever energy bill emerges from Congress will address capital formation and good, sane tax policy."[7]

IOGCC chairman and executive directors, on some instances, have referred to themselves as part of "our industry" just as Smith did in the 2002 speech.[8][9][10]

At that same 2002 speech, Smith called for tapping into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is also something the IOGCC has long pushed as an organization.

"It's simply a non-issue with me," he said at the gathering. "It looks like a desert covered in snow."[11]

His future employer, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, had been making public policy pushes on model bills addressing both issues at the time, with one model offering to alter the U.S. tax code on behalf of increased fracking and another in support of lifting the ANWR drilling ban.[12][13]

Smith Sells Fracking at DOE, IOGCC

At his congressional confirmation hearing on October 25, 2001, Smith described his oil-soaked road to the nomination as secretary of fossil energy for the U.S. Department of Energy.

"I was born and raised in the middle of the Oklahoma City Field and attended the only high school in the Nation with a producing oil well in the middle of the front sidewalk," he said. "As a young lawyer, I started my professional life representing roughnecks, roustabouts, oilfield service companies and drilling contractors. I represented small- to medium-sized independent oil and gas exploration firms, and, later, larger operators. I was co-owner of a small, independent company (less than 10 employees) drilling and operating oil and gas wells in central and western Oklahoma."[14]

Also submitted to the congressional record by U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman (R-NM), right after the transcript of Smith's nomination hearing testimony, was a letter in support[15] of his nomination penned by the American Gas Association's David Parker.[16] Likewise, the climate change denying and fellow Oklahoman U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) gave a full-throated endorsement of Smith on the Senate floor.[17]

"I am proud of my fellow Oklahoman. I am excited to work closely with him to develop our national energy policy, particularly to ensure adequate supplies of affordable and clean energy," said Inhofe. "America's energy strengths derive from the rich natural bounty of our coal, our natural gas, and our oil, as well as from our blessed human ingenuity fostered by America's free market." Smith received confirmation for the position in January 2002.[18]

Smith's pro-oil advocacy continued at the U.S. DOE. While working as a top aide to then-U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, Smith submitted a comment to the EPA in 2002 for its crucial report released in 2004 – alongside IOGCC and many of its member states – saying that fracking posed no groundwater risks.

Before IOGCC hired him in 2008 and after leaving the Bush Administration, Smith worked as a lobbyist for a firm owned by Spencer Abraham. Abraham’s lobbying group, The Abraham Group LLC,[19] has since removed reference to this period of Smith’s career on its website, but lobbying disclosure forms from New York show that Smith lobbied on behalf of Spanish gas utility company Iberdrola in 2008 alongside Spencer Abraham.[20] Another biography tracked down shows his Abraham Group affiliation, as well.[21]

Smith also lobbied on behalf of FutureGen, a carbon capture and storage project, through the Oklahoma City-based law firm he was employed by during this time period called Dunlap, Codding & Rogers, according to federal lobbying disclosure logs.[22]

Selling Fracking Abroad

While at IOGCC, Smith has taken trips to promote fracking internationally, including to Poland and Sweden.

His trip to Poland was part of a convoy funded by then-U.S. Secretary of State's Global Shale Gas Initiative, in which she "sold fracking to the world" as revealed by a Mother Jones investigation.[23]

“Maybe we can teach you more what not to do than what to do,” Smith told those listening in attendance. “It has been a very successful model in establishing that regulatory history which is now 75 years old.” he noted at the 2010 Poland junket.[24]

Three months later, Smith sojourned again to Poland, this time invited to speak at the 2010 Global Shale Gas Summit held that year in Warsaw, Poland.[25] In February 2011, he spoke again on fracking in Stockholm, Sweden in front of the Natverket Olja & Gas, Swedish for the Oil and Gas Network.[26]

Calling 911 on Reporter

In October 2015, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission deputy director Gerry Baker called the Oklahoma City Police Department 911 line when reporter Steve Horn visited Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission's office to ask about for its stance on climate change. Horn had attended its annual meeting just days earlier and had told IOGCC he would be swinging by the office to ask about the issue.

Smith was in the office at the time, as was Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission communications director Carol Booth. Neither of them answered the door and instead Baker reported Horn's activities as "suspicious" to the police. No arrests arose from the incident, which was recorded and the 911 call audio, as well as the incident report, were published online by[27]

Articles and Resources


  1. "Keaing Picks OIPA President for Energy Post" Kim Rodgers, December 20, 1994, Oklahoma Journal Record
  2. IOGCC Online, Oklahoma Representative, January 2002, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
  3. "Carl Michael Smith Named Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission Executive Director"
  4. "Keaing Picks OIPA President for Energy Post" Kim Rodgers, December 20, 1994, Oklahoma Journal Record
  5. "The Ungreening of America: Behind the Curtain" Mother Jones, September 1, 2003, accessed April 2016
  6. "States Criticize Proposed Study by EPA, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, August 24, 2000
  7. "At GOP Gathering, 'Clinton' Steals the Show," Al Kamen, The Washington Post, February 1, 2002.
  8. "'I Hate That Oil's Dropping': Why Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant Wants High Oil Prices for Fracking", Steve Horn,, November 25, 2014, accessed April 2016
  9. IOCC Executive Director Timothy Dowd Breakfast Presentation on April 12 1988 to the United States Senate, accessed April 2016
  10. The Oil and Gas Bulletin, Interstate Oil Compact, Volume XXXVI, Number 1, July 1977
  11. "At GOP Gathering, 'Clinton' Steals the Show," Al Kamen, The Washington Post, February 1, 2002.
  12. IOGCC 96.502 (Reauthorized 2000) Concerning Addition of "Horizontal Recovery" to List of Qualifying Enhanced Recovery Methods in U.S. Tax Code, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
  13. IOGCC Resolution 95.123 (Reauthorized 2000) Concerning Increased Domestic Oil Production and Reduction of the U.S. Trade Deficit Through Development of ANWR, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
  14. Carl Michael Smith Nomination, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, October 25, 2001
  15. Carl Michael Smith Nomination, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, October 25, 2001
  16. David Parker,, accessed April 2016
  17. Carl Michael Smith DOE Confirmation
  18. Carl Michael Smith DOE Confirmation
  19. The Abraham Group LLC,, accessed April 2016
  20. New York Lobbying Disclosure Log, 2008
  21. Carl Michael Smith, Abraham Group LLC Biography
  22. Carl Michael Smith Lobbying Report, Office of the Clerk, U.S. House of Representatives, February 13, 2006
  23. "How Hillary Clinton's State Department Sold Fracking to the World", Mariah Blake, Mother Jones, September 10, 2014, accessed April 2016
  24. "NGFE Reports: Risky Business - North American regulator pledges to address risks in shale gas development", Natural Gas Europe, July 25, 2010
  25. 2010 Global Shale Gas Summit in Warsaw, Poland
  26. Mike Smith talks fracking in Sweden, Natverket Olja & Gas, February 1, 2011
  27. "Congress-backed Interstate Oil Commission Call Cops When Reporter Arrives To Ask About Climate" Steve Horn,, October 8, 2016, accessed April 2016