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During these tough economic times, it is important to look at the little things that indicate a change locally. Increases in home sales, rentals, and the number of active drilling rigs are a few of the statistics that help put the small details together to see the big picture. It appears that the energy development in this country is still standing still. One long time oil field worker reports that word of an increase in drilling has surfaced, but his worry is that it wonít be soon enough to make much of a difference in helping local families who earn their livelihoods stay afloat.
Finding out the accurate information about the increase and decrease of the active drilling rigs is essential. It gives area residents the true picture of the economic climate in understandable terms. Small business owners can tabulate their own economic peaks and valleys matching the increase and decrease in energy development.
Many local residents seem to be in denial about the effect of the national economy on this aspect of our local economy. There is a segment of the population who are not comfortable with this aspect of Meeker’s economy. Multi-use for public lands is taken very seriously here and the history of the development of the region includes that sector. Anyone new to the area often did not learn much about the relationship between many in the agricultural community and the energy industry, as it was down-played.
Cowboy culture remained predominant although the big energy companies leased a lot of acreage (much of it out on the Piceance Basin).A few years ago, when our local graduates were asked what they planned to do in the future, one high school senior described how her plans included law school, so she could make sure that the contracts between the agricultural and the energy sector were fair and equitable. Yet, there is a feeling in Meeker that it is not only the energy industry that affects the locals, community attitudes can be a problem.
Local families who have been providing for their own by working in the oil or gas industry often talk about the disparaging attitude toward this segment of the workforce. Transient workers may be the demographic that make locals uncomfortable, but the community’s cold shoulder toward anyone working in the oil and gas fields is felt deeply by those who feel their families have been contributing to the community for years.