New Mexico’s most dangerous border – is with Texas


“Is there a time to call it? A time to say, ‘They won,’ and we just leave?”
Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle

❝ CARLSBAD, N.M. — Texas’ most dangerous and unchecked border doesn’t lie to the south along the Rio Grande, but rather to the west, where the Permian Basin oil boom is expanding along narrow and deadly roads into rural New Mexico, driving breakneck growth with little oversight and not nearly enough highways, housing, health care and environmental air monitoring.

❝ The Midland-Odessa area in West Texas remains the hub for the prolific oil field with about 350,000 people and some of the fastest economic growth in the country, but even greater change is occurring 150 miles away in this boomtown, where the population has nearly doubled to 75,000 people from 40,000 just a few years ago. Even as lackluster oil prices slow drilling and lower rig counts in Texas by 20 percent over the past year, New Mexico drillers have never been busier, increasing the number of operating rigs in the state by nearly 15 percent to 113…

❝ John Waters, Carlsbad’s executive director of economic development, admits the rapid growth has strained the region’s capacity to accommodate it. The roads have become more dangerous, scary even, and housing is in short supply and far from getting built fast enough to keep up with the influx of people…

The whole caption for the photo up top

❝ “Is there a time to call it? A time to say, ‘They won,’ and we just leave?” asked Dee George in Carlsbad, as a well was being drilled directly across the street from his home. George is a special education teacher in Carlsbad, and he said his family has owned the land his trailer sits on since he was 9 years old. He described birds dying in his yard after flying over another nearby well, and he said he has smelled gas in his house multiple times.

RTFA. Great piece of journalism – describing profit at any human and environmental cost – the heart and soul of the oil industry. Nothing new, except where.

I’ve told the story before – of going to a Friday night high school football game in Odessa, Texas. Players took the field after the bands played, cheerleaders paraded, the big lights came on to light everything up. And not a single insect appeared to cluster around the lights. And if they had, there weren’t any birds to feed on them.

I asked the guy who brought me to see his local team, “what’s that smell?”

He said, “We call that the smell of money around here.”