I’ve mentioned a little bit on the subject of the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas. NewsTaco has a good write-up by Dr. Roberto R. Calderon which speaks to the situation in plain terms: Short Term Benefits, Long-Term Problems.
Ever since I started reading about all the benefits, which have come in the form of filled up motel/hotel rooms, all-new trailer parks, occupancy of rental homes at capacity; not to mention the oil field jobs and any other jobs that might have been created, I started thinking about any negative effects–because for South Texas, certainly, there would be some. Says Calderon:
The upside in this story is that thousands of workers — including huge numbers of Mexican American workers — are being employed in a variety of jobs. Former Clinton-era Cabinet member and San Antonio mayor Henry Cisneros sounds ecstatic in a recent report about the prospects of huge investments coming to South San Antonio; and similar views have been expressed by South Texas Democratic Congressman Rubén Hinojosa.
Both politicians are exemplary of the predominant tendency witnessed to date focused strictly on the jobs end of the deal, particularly those for Mexican American workers in their respective areas. They’re banking on public opinion being on their side by making the case: Who can argue with creating jobs amidst the worst economic depression the nation has experienced since the 1930s? If so, then I would argue that labor unions ought to enter the equation if this is to be the case — surely workers would get a better deal.
But, alas, in a right-to-work state, even the most progressive of elected Mexican American federal or state officials avoid the argument.
Quite true. In a down economy, it becomes so easy to look away when something good is going on; especially in an area with high unemployment rates. And the oil and gas companies have lobbying power, but beyond that, have the power to persuade and appease local politicians to where any environmental effort which may have an interest has received push back, which speaks to Dr. Calderon’s comment that there hasn’t much from those movements.
But the effects of such oil and gas development in the long-term can and will likely be devastating. In areas that experience desperate circumstances, it is difficult to create a movement against something that seems productive. But as a former South Texan, this whole situation is worrisome.
Give Dr. Calderon a read at NewsTaco. I’m sure it will be a continuing series since he’s from my neck of the mesquite, too.