By Devin Sanchez
BIG SPRING - Oil and gas is the livelihood of the Permian Basin's economy but with the boom comes growing pains. Big Spring played host to the West Texas Energy Consortium Inaugural Conference and Impact Presentation on Tuesday to discuss those growing pains and how to be better prepared.
"So we can manage this to the best of our ability," Terry Wegman, executive director of Big Spring's Economic Development Corporation, said. "These things can be quite challenging to communities so we need to plan and address them as they come."
Wegman said the idea for the conference came when a board got together with the idea after seeing how other booming economies were handling things.
"With some help from our friends with the Eagle Ford Shale, we saw what they were doing and thought this would be a great thing for our community," Wegman said.
Big Spring's Mayor, Larry McLellan, said the conference is important for communities to attend.
"I'm afraid if we don't have something like this, we're going to get complacent and we won't respond in a timely manner," he said.
Not everyone who attended was in the oil industry.
"There's tangent lines in every aspect of living; your universities, your schools, everything is going to be affected by this," he said.
Attendees also went to workshops focused on the impact of energy growth on education, health and the workforce.
"That's where the real work occurs. How do we deal with wage differentials? How do we deal with labor shortage? How to we deal with road infrastructure issues?" he stated.