Symposium, New Book By UH Profs Analyze Impact of Houston’s Large-Scale Energy Production, Unchecked Expansion

Houston's meteoric rise from bayou trading post to energy capital of the world is chronicled in "Energy Metropolis: An Environmental History of Houston and the Gulf Coast," a new book by University of Houston history professors Martin V. Melosi and Joseph A. Pratt. The book analyzes the environmental impact of large-scale energy production and unchecked expansion.

The UH Department of History will host a symposium and book signing at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Elizabeth Rockwell Pavilion on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library. The authors will sign books after the symposium.

"Rich reserves of oil and natural gas and access to international shipping fueled the city's exponential growth," said Melosi, one of the world's leading scholars of environmental and urban history. "This expansion came at a price. Hazardous pollution levels, frequent flooding, deforestation, hurricanes, the energy demands of an air-conditioned lifestyle, automobile traffic and urban sprawl all escalated the need for massive infrastructure improvements and environmental safeguards."

The symposium will include a discussion with Melosi and Pratt, along with colleagues from Louisiana State University and Trinity University in San Antonio.

"While Houstonians recognize that energy production has driven the region's economy, they remain concerned about how the changes in the local environment, as a consequence of that activity, have affected the quality of their lives," noted Pratt, a leading historian of the petroleum industry.

Additional funding for the symposium comes from the Tenneco Lecture Series and UH History Graduate Student Mentoring Association.

For more information on the UH Department of History, visit

WHAT:  "Energy Metropolis: An Environmental History of Houston
and the Gulf Coast" 
Energy symposium and book signing
WHEN: 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 26
WHERE: Elizabeth Rockwell Pavilion, second floor of the M.D. Anderson library
For directions and parking information, please visit