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New Organization Gearing Up To Take On Challenges Facing Midland

Dr. Ray Perryman address the audience at the Priority Midland kickoff. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden

As the Permian Basin continues to produce millions of barrels of crude oil each day, Midland and other communities in the area are rapidly growing.

There are challenges that come with this kind of economic success though. To address this, the City of Midland along with other public and private organizations are joining together to create a group to address some of the region’s biggest problems.

Priority Midland is the new effort to address the region’s rapid growth and economic stresses but as the public kickoff for the organization’s unveiling made clear — this isn’t your grandmother’s oil boom.

Kat Copeland was in the audience of the event and has lived in the region for most of her life. She said she’s never seen the oil industry grow so fast as it has in the past few years.

“It feels like it’s really aggressive and totally out of control," said Copeland. "I’ve never been in a boom that’s been so intense."

This growth has been good for the local economy but has also caused issues like a high cost of living and dangerous driving conditions. Melissa Hensley is with Priority Midland and stated the organization wants to work fast to address these problems.

She said, “This is a boom that consensus shows will last a long time. So, I think if we don’t build for it the challenges that Midland has right now are not going to get better.”

Priority Midland is currently forming workgroups and is actively looking for community members to join its efforts to improve the city.

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.