In the farm country of southern Kansas, water is a precious commodity. And not just for farming — for fracking.
It’s not just oil that’s turning Kansas’ rural communities into America’s latest boomtowns.
Wind turbines are being built right next to oil rigs, bringing an additional rush of jobs and revenue to the small towns along the southern border of the state — as well as big paychecks to local landowners. BP Wind Energy is currently building the biggest wind farm in the state, and it plans to begin production by the end of this year. The project has already brought 500 jobs to the three counties its wind turbines span: Harper, Barber and Kingman, according to BP. These same counties are also filling up with hundreds of oil workers, as big fracking and exploration companies seek to tap the billions of barrels of oil that are estimated to be in the Mississippian limestone formation.
The spread of innovative drilling techniques combined with high oil prices have caused a renaissance in American oil exploration and production. The boom has been confined in large part to traditional oil-and-gas states like Texas and North Dakota, but other states that have seen resource dividends pass them by in previous eras are now enjoying their own expansions thanks to oil and gas development.
The latest round of American boomtowns to be profiled by CNNMoney lie in Kansas, and the site has profiled seven of the workers benefiting from oil investment even as they grapple with the challenges of a resource sector that often requires a high degree of mobility and a tolerance for isolation. Keep reading →
It doesn’t feel like we’re in Kansas anymore.
Oil rigs are springing up in farmers’ fields. “No vacancy” signs hang in the windows of local motels, and a steady stream of trucks barrel through Main Streets. Along the state’s southern border, the once-quiet farm towns are quickly transforming into boomtowns. Keep reading →