Through the southern reaches of Texas, communities are scattered across a flat landscape of dry brush lands, ranches and agricultural fields. This large rural region near the U.S.-Mexico border is known for its persistent poverty. Over 25% of the families here live in poverty, and many lack access to basic services like water, sewer and primary health care.
This is also home to the Eagle Ford shale, where domestic oil and gas production has boomed. The Eagle Ford is widely considered the most profitable U.S. shale play, producing more than 1.2 million barrels of oil daily in 2019, up from fewer than 350,000 barrels per day just a decade earlier. Read more about Jill Johnston and JPB Fellow Lara Cushing’s piece in The Conversation.