Thursday, January 26, 2012

Oil Boomtowns See Rise In Drunken Driving And Bar Fights, Threatening To Overwhelm Law Enforcement

"We definitely do drink a lot. I ain't going to lie," said Jordon Bourque, a 23-year-old pipe inspector from Lafayette, La., who was drinking beer at a bar in the Williamsport, Pa., area one recent night.

In the North Dakota boomtown of Williston, some bars have become rough, and the number of domestic-disturbance calls and arrests for such crimes as DUI, assault and theft in just the first half of 2011 was twice the total for all of 2010, said Busching, the sheriff.

Stories abound about friction between locals and out-of-towners, whether road rage incidents or fights over women.

Renee Daly, 27, of Montrose, Pa., said she knows of at least three marriages that ended when local women abandoned their husbands for gas-field workers.

What have we heard from ranchers Gilbert Armenta and Chris Velasquez from San Juan County about increased crime: drunkenness, drug use, prostitution, and their community's needs for larger courthouses and increased law enforcement over the past 40-50 years since drilling for oil and gas overtook their agricultural county?

Appears the size of the Mora County Courthouse might be "just right," at least for the next 10 years, should the commission pass a regulatory oil and gas ordinance which permits drilling to take place.


TOWANDA, Pa. -- In a modern-day echo of the raucous Old West, small towns enjoying a boom in oil and gas drilling are seeing a sharp increase in drunken driving, bar fights and other hell-raising, blamed largely on an influx of young men who find themselves with lots of money in their pockets and nothing to do after they get off work.

Authorities in Pennsylvania and other states are quick to point out that the vast majority of workers streaming in are law-abiding. But they also say the drilling industry has brought with it a hard-working, hard-drinking, rough-and-tumble element that, in some places, threatens to overwhelm law enforcement.

Some police departments are trying to hire more officers but are hard-pressed to compete with the industry for applicants...continued.......