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