The Eagle Ford Shale project is expected to be the world’s largest natural gas exploration project in the next three years, so Frio County Commissioners are working toward a master plan for economic development needed by the community.
Dr. Tom Tunstall, with the Institute for Economic Development at UTSA, is working with Frio County. He said Frio County is looking at all of the impacts of the fracking boom on its supply chains, such as food and housing, as well as schools, roads, power systems, and other infrastructure.
When the Texas Legislature starts its new session next month, lawmakers will be taking a close look at the state's booming oil and gas industry. Some believe the industry has grown far faster than the state's ability to regulate it. StateImpact reporter Dave Fehling found that while past efforts to improve oversight have failed, this time may be different.
Although San Antonio isn't directly a part of drilling and extraction activities of the Eagle Ford Shale, it is one of the many communities benefiting from the injection of economic power.
According to a new report by the San Antonio Economic Foundation, road damage caused by trucks traveling to and from the Eagle Ford Shale drilling sites is a big challenge for Bexar County and the City of San Antonio. The report recommends infrastructure planning during the next legislative session.
The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has awarded $1.3 million to the Alamo, Coastal Bend, Laredo, South Texas Junior and Victoria Colleges to train and educate workers for the Eagle Ford Shale oil and natural gas boom.
"It's going to train up to 800 individuals to go to work very quickly and be able to make a living wage and be able to make a living wage and support their families and help improve the Texas economy,” said THECB Commissioner Raymund Paredes.
UTSA president Ricardo Romo re-capped the school's progress toward Tier One status in his state of the university address Wednesday.
Dr. Romo outlined some of the new initiatives to help incoming students - such as the new Graduation Rate Improvement Plan, or 'GRIP.' GRIP will proactively work with 250 high-school students in San Antonio to make sure they are prepared for college-level courses, with the goal of helping them avoid remedial classes when they get to college.
Halfway between San Antonio and Laredo on I-35 is the town of Cotulla. In the middle of the harsh South Texas brush country, the county seat of La Salle County has been struggling for decades – but not these days.
Cotulla is a thriving. Big trucks are everywhere hauling miles of pile, gravel and fracking sand for oil rigs that have popped up to cash in on the Eagle Ford Shale oil and natural gas boom.