South Texas is in the midst of a massive oil boom. In just a few years, it has totally transformed once-sleepy communities along a crescent swoosh known as the Eagle Ford Shale formation and has brought unexpected prosperity — along with a host of new concerns.
Among the towns drastically changed by the drilling is Cotulla, southwest of San Antonio, about 70 miles up from the border with Mexico. The area is called brush country — flat, dry ranch land, scrubby with mesquite and parched by drought.
According to oil field service company Baker-Hughes, almost half of all the oil rigs in the United States, and almost 25 percent of rigs worldwide, are in the Eagle Ford Shale region, working on "tight" oil deposits. The exploration explosion has been a boon for local economies, and also reaches statewide in its scope. Unemployment in these areas has dropped to as low as 4 percent in some counties.
Texas Matters: The addition of rocker/conservative-activist Ted Nugent to the campaigning in the race for governor only served to add fuel to an already blazing fire. More on opposition research and it's role in modern campaigning, and how hydraulic fracking in North Texas could play a role in the race for railroad commissioner. Also on this show: Air quality in the Eagle Ford Shale, and a look at the next generation of Texas oil field workers.
A loophole is letting hundreds of oil and gas companies emit a combined 8.5 million tons of toxic chemicals every year in America and they don’t have to tell the public anything about it.
A new report by the Environmental Integrity Project has highlighted industry in Texas as being THE biggest polluter of the eight states they investigated, noting nearly 100 individual facilities releasing 10,000 pounds of toxic chemicals each year.
The South Texas oil and natural gas drilling boom in the Eagle Ford Shale will continue to impact Texas and its local communities in a big way in 2014, but the boom may have already seen its largest single-year growth.
Every year the University of Texas at San Antonio studies how the Eagle Ford Shale has affected the small Texas towns where production is happening. The report takes into account both the positives and negatives of the growth.
As the United States becomes a net exporter of oil for the first time since 1995, the Eagle Ford Shale deposit hums away with activity. The environmental costs have been becoming better documented and one correlation becomes stronger and stronger -- the link between certain hydraulic fracturing disposal methods and earthquakes.
In the next two years voters will be deciding two propositions that take a percentage from the oil and gas tax money helping grow the state’s Rainy Day Fund.
The first of those is up for a vote this November and would take $2 billion out of the fund to help pay for water projects. The second proposition, which will be on the 2014 ballot, will take $1 billion to fund transportation projects.