ABSTRACT The oil industry is seen as being similar to other mining activities in having a cycle of expansion and subsequent contraction. Previous literature suggests this cycle leads to boomtown communities. Furthermore, the oil and gas industry is often seen as a having primarily negative social effects on the communities it invades. The present research takes an in-depth look at the small South Louisiana community of St. Mary Parish; an area with eco-nomic roots in such extraction enterprises as lumber, fishing and later, oil. Positive attributes of the presence of the oil and gas industry are identified, namely-sustainability and increased life chances of local residents. Due to methodological limitations previous research might have been unable to holistically view the off-shore oil in-dustries impacts on communities. This paper concludes that the paradigmatic usage of the NEPA boomtown model is inapt for the study of the Gulf off-shore oil industry.
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