Chuck Thompson’s article in the New Republic responds to the recent 80,000-signature-strong petition to the White House requesting that Texas be allowed to secede from the union. Thompson writes: Rather than secession, which would radically fracture our nation, Texas should be granted semi-autonomy in the form of “political and social expression in exchange for diminished power in federal government.”
Thompson, author of “Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Secession,” is definitely no conservative sympathizer, and concludes his article by writing that if Texas wants to secede, believing it can do better as an independent nation, so be it. (Thompson dares Texas, apparently believing the experiment would fail.)
But he does point out the underlying motivation for the petition: the incredibly strong Texas economy, which apparently rivals the economy of all of Russia.
Contributing mightily to the Texas economy is its oil and natural gas production, where it “leads the nation,” Thompson writes, in places like the Barnett Shale and Eagle Ford Shale.
Given the overall strength of Texas in terms of oil and gas, its independent power grid, and plenty of Fortune 500 companies, among other things, it stands to reason that Texas could quite do well on its own.
However, what Thompson fails to mention is the impact all this production has on local Texas cities and roads. When it comes to oil and gas, many counties, especially those within the Eagle Ford Shale area, are struggling to keep up with expensive road maintenance and repair. 18-wheelers pass through rural roads and busy highways. Truck accidents happen on a regular basis – and people are getting injured or even killed as a result.
In short, an 80,000-signature-strong petition to the White House sounds like a lot of signatures, but it’s still only 80,000. It’s unfair to imply that Texans don’t feel the strain of shale gas production – no matter which side of the political divide you’re on.