Month: June 2017

Climate is a deciding factor in human habitation and migration patterns. Mapping Texas aridity, vegetation, and groundwater helps us better understand striking economic and social differences between the dry western half of the state and the wetter eastern sections. As demonstrated in the map below,…

Between 1923 and 2015 over 29 billion barrels of crude oil and 75 trillion cubic feet of natural gas were pulled from beneath the Texas Permian Basin, for a time, making it one of the most important oil-producing regions in the world. The search for…

The Permian Basin experienced several exploratory booms, first in the late 1920s, again in the late 1930s, and the largest in the mid 1950s. The earliest oil migrants lived in hotels, boarding houses, and temporary shelters. Sometimes oil companies built bunkhouses for workers. At other…

Oil exploration in Texas has been historically concentrated mostly along the Gulf and in the Permian Basin. The earliest strikes took place in the eastern half of the state and moved west later in the twentieth century. As the below map illustrates, a wave of…

It is commonly assumed that industrial unions have never existed in Texas, let alone in the oil industry. This is not the case. Labor activism has a long history in Texas, especially in the oil refining and processing industries. By the end of World War…

Along with railroads, oil pipelines provided the Permian Basin economic links to a broader industrial network. Business leaders in the region advocated strongly for them in the local press and campaigned for local office on platforms promising increased infrastructure improvements. During WWII federal funding significant expanded…

Like the rest of the Texas, the Permian Basin was marked by racial segregation and workplace discrimination. Oil drilling was heavily segregated, with nonwhite workers relegated to the most lowest-paying, dirty jobs as janitors, cooks, or manual laborers. However, race relations were very different in…

Data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, and other regulatory bodies demonstrates that oil refining and processing facilities produce a significant amount of air and water pollution. After the establishment of the EPA in 1970, regulation increased significantly and…

Mapping provides insight into oil’s geographic expansion, socioeconomic impact, and ecological consequences. However these maps cannot convey the array of personal experiences working and living in and around the oil fields.  See below for oil personnel’s individual stories, in their own words. Digitized sound recordings…