Rural Attitudes Towards Growth and Energy Development: A Texas Example

Gundars Rudzitis



Bastrop County, Texas is undergoing rapid population growth, and is part of the counterurbanization trend in the United States. It is an amenity rich county, adjacent to Austin, Texas, one of the fastest growing medium size metropolitan areas in the United States. Most of Bastrop's population growth is from in-migration. The in-migration of new residents, however, is not a result of an expansion of the economic base of the county. Instead, new residents are drawn to the county largely for amenity related reasons. The amenity characteristics of the area may soon change since Bastrop County has a lignite belt running through the county. The large in-migration of new residents during the past decade could result in a variety of conflicts between new and long term residents. The possibility of lignite mining in the near future creates an even greater potential for conflict in the county. This article focuses on the attitudes and preferences of different groups in the county towards the proposed stripmining of lignite.

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