“We’ve Had Enough” – Denton, Texas Bans Fracking – Now Faces Legal Battle

BY ON November 18, 2014

Child's drawing of negative effects of fracking on Denton, TX

After the recent election results, I was feeling pretty down. Sen. James Inhofe, my senator, was reelected once again in Oklahoma. He is a climate denier and a good friend to the oil and gas industry. Many other climate deniers were elected around the country as well.

While scrolling through Facebook to find election results, I read 130 miles south of me in Texas, the town of Denton, banned hydraulic fracturing! I had been watching the fight, but honestly didn’t think it would pass…this is oil and gas country after all. But it did, by a vote of 58.64% to 41.36%.

Denton, Texas is home to 113,000 residents. It is now home to more than 270 natural gas wells. The ban will prohibit the use of hydraulic fracturing within city limits. Citizens felt the ban was the only way to protect their health and the health of their families.

“It was the only way we could see to achieve commonsense city planning to prevent heavy industry from setting up next to homes and playgrounds and schools. It was for our air, water safety, and health and also for a more prosperous local economy,” ~ Adam Briggle, vice president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group

It’s been just a short time since the ban passed and there are already major bumps in the road. Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick told the Dallas Morning News that she would continue giving permits to oil and gas companies seeking to frack in Denton. Two lawsuits have also been filed against the ban. But the group behind Frack Free Denton expected the lawsuits:

“Unfortunately, industry has met our expectations. They have apparently learned nothing from last night’s landslide vote. They have taken no time to reflect on their own irresponsible actions that brought the people of Denton to this point,” said Adam Briggle in a statement about the lawsuits.

While there is still work to do to make sure the ban is enforced, this is a big win against the oil and gas industry.

When asked how he felt when he heard the ban passed, Adam Briggle said,

“I felt disbelief, I could not really convince myself it was real… We poured our hearts into this and won against all odds. It should give people a renewed sense of hope about the power of democracy”

People all over the country are fighting back against the oil and gas industry. In my state, there’s a petition to halt injection wells in Oklahoma for a year due to earthquakes that are thought to be caused by fracking.

Cathy McMullen, president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group in a statement about the ban, said this:

“This ban is the voice of the citizens of Denton speaking directly to the fracking industry, and local, state and national government: WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH…”

Image: Frack Free Denton


TOPICS: Fracking, Natural Gas, Oklahoma, Texas

  • Denton on frack…love it. 🙂

  • Green Bean

    Kids’ drawings are the best ever. They cute through all the noise, don’t they? I am so impressed that Denton was able to pull off this win and hope it inspires more and more grassroots efforts.

  • An inspiring story. I hope some non-profits step in to help them with the legal battle.

  • 1FlourSackMama1

    I’m somewhat hopeful that small towns, communities across America can have the courage to stand up for their own citizens and stop this senseless health threat.

  • This is a great example of the people standing up for their rights, as somehow our political system seems to have collapsed in favor of big business, so now they think they can do anything they want.

  • Kenneth Carpenter

    It’s funny, I was reading an article that showed exactly why they took the power to regulate away from Denton. It seems that Denton, TX has made a lot of bad decisions regarding oil and gas over the years. Instead of having the City Council issue drilling permits, they regulated that to the fire department (great at fighting fires, not at regulating drilling permits). The city council was not checking to see where the drilling permits were being issued and allowed people to build homes on dormant drilling sites (that later became active drilling sites). The city allowed homes to be built next to drilling areas and people started complaining about it, blaming the oil companies for something that the City of Denton gave them permission to do. Instead of taking ownership for this mistake, they try to ban the action that they were allowing.

    Whether it is right or wrong, the City of Denton has shown itself incompetent in regulating the oil and gas industry. The Texas Railroad Commission has stepped in as the governing authority (of over 100 years) and has already established a history of maintaining a good balance between residential zoning and issuing drilling permits.

    This is a good thing that they took over because you will see more restrictions being enforced, not less. (There were plenty of restrictions set by the city, but the City of Denton was not capable of enforcing any of them. The TRRC has the judicial power to enforce these restrictions)