I used to live in the “awl patch,” which is the folksy term used to describe that part of the country where petroleum and natural gas are extracted from deep inside the earth.
When the wind was right, there was a smell--not unlike what you smell when your neighbor’s roof is being tarred. That, along with the aroma coming from the feedlots, was what the locals called “the smell of money.”
The awl patch ain’t purty. I once passed through a town in the Texas Panhandle that was surrounded by oilfields. The unrelenting removal of liquid and gas from beneath the surface had caused the land above to buckle and collapse in unnatural ways. It was devoid of vegetation, and the whole tableau--dotted by pumps and power poles leaning at crazy angles--looked like a moonscape being preyed upon by a swarm of mechanical locusts.
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, because that land was probably not too appealing to begin with. But now we hear that a consortium of Texas wildcatters is trying to, um, influence the Florida Legislature to relax our offshore drilling ban with tales of vast riches to replenish the state’s depleted kitty.
Considering that preserving the natural beauty of the coastal environment is not exactly a priority for our out-of-state investors, maybe they shouldn't be trusted with the welfare of Florida’s beaches, which are pretty appealing.
But, shux--if we don't have enough gasoline to drive to 'em, what's the point in having 'em, anyway?