Saturday, February 23, 2008

Oil Exhibit

I thought that the oil exhibit was very dissapointing. For a state with as much history, importance, and influence in the oil industry as Texas, I thought the display vague and lacked a lot of substantive content.

Nonetheless, the exhibit did bring up one important point which I feel is worth commenting on. The boomtowns that result from oil rushes (and all extractive industries for that matter) cause a unique set of social, economic, and environmental problems for the communitites which host them. Many of these problems are much longer lasting than the associated boom that caused them and some only appear once prices change and down-times come.

These boomtowns are not historical problems either; they still follow the extractive industry booms and busts throughout the world. Does anybody have experiences living or working in a boom? Places like Gillette, WY; Ft. McMurray, Alberta; Palisade, CO; Winnemuccaha, NV; are all currently seeing the effects of high mineral prices and commodity booms on their communities. I dont know much about Texas or Oklahoma but surely similar communities exist?

I spent the last several years living in such various places; maybe thats part of the reason I ended back in school now?!

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