Letters to the Editor

Letter: Boom and bust

May 12, 2014

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To the editor:

I really appreciated getting to hear Tony Horwitz discuss his new book, “Boom: Oil, Money, Cowboys, Strippers and the Energy Rush that Could Change America Forever.” The Lawrence Public Library staff on Monday night arranged it by Skype here in Lawrence.

Horwitz’s book is a record of his 4,000-mile trip to find out what the Keystone XL pipeline is doing to people and our land.

I have been bothered ever since I heard Horwitz. There are a few good things: The U.S. will soon become the largest oil producer in the world, which means energy independence. The oil booms in North Dakota and Alberta, Canada, have created many jobs.

There are many negatives to the oil booms, however. To name some briefly: oil spills, devastated landscapes, flaring off of natural gas (wasted), oil train derailments, crime in boom towns, fear of oil companies claiming eminent domain and ruined farmlands.

The XL pipeline already runs through Kansas. The Kansas Legislature gave these oil companies a 12-year exemption from paying local property taxes in those counties where the pipeline exists. So those counties have the infrastructure expenses that could have been helped by property taxes. I can’t figure that one out.

The oil problem is not going away and is so complex. We all need to know more about how it affects us as a nation.

Comments

Jeanne Gardner 1 year, 1 month ago

Interesting that oil companies have a "12 year exemption" from paying local property tax in the counties where the pipeline exists.......what the heck? Can't the oil companies afford property tax? Sounds like another give to the rich and take from the poor to me.......when are our elected officials going to wake up and realize what they are doing to this state? Maybe our governor has some friends in the oil business??? Hmmm.....

Richard Heckler 1 year, 1 month ago

"Boom Town Economies" always crash and are devastating. A most recent real estate "boom town economy" encouraged extreme inflation of home values, encouraged massive fraud and no one has gone to jail.

NOT TO MENTION leaving huge numbers of homeowners owing more on their homes than market value will bring. Of course if homeowners have not put their homes on the market in the recent past this may be a problem not yet realized. Be careful and beware about how much one is paying for a home.

Some of the current oil boom towns may never recover once the crash comes alive. Politicians will then come to the taxpayers because the oil industry is getting away with NOT PAYING their share into the coming economic crash. Kansas towns have experienced this high risk oil venture before how could politicians forget?

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