As Denton Voters Come Out Against Fracking, City Council Passes Surprise Temporary Fracking Ban

Categories: Environment

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After the Denton City Council had its butt handed to it in court by oil company EagleRidge last Fall, Denton civic leaders decided to pretty much stop fighting EagleRidge altogether and let it drill close to a few residential neighborhoods. Residents complained, but the city said it had no choice, blaming it on the state law and its bias toward oil companies.

State law does certainly favor big oil, but Denton residents are not impressed with that excuse. Frustrated with the City Council's refusal to crack down on residential drilling, residents have been organizing since February to put a total fracking ban on the ballot. They needed 596 signatures in 180 days.

Last Tuesday night, the organizers announced that they beat that challenge by a landslide -- a healthy 1,871 signatures, to be exact. (It's an especially high number when you learn that only 2,385 people voted in Denton's last election).

Now faced with this information, the Denton City Council has suddenly gained a bit of a backbone in its EagleRidge fight. The same night the petition got turned in, the City Council decided on its own to pass a ban on all drilling in city limits for awhile.

Did the City Council get swayed by popular opinion? The city insists no, this is all coincidental. "It was just the timing, honestly," city spokesman Lindsey Baker says.

The city's new ordinance isn't a permanent fracking ban. It's just temporary, until September. The point, Baker says, is to give officials time to think about the drilling ordinance before any more drilling can be happen. "We are in a position right now where our city wants to look at the ordinance further," she says. (Before this vote, the city had banned companies from drilling new wells near homes, but still allowed EagleRidge to re-drill old wells ).

Denton's temporary fracking crackdown might seem like a measure of good will to voters hoping to end fracking permanently, but the trust between that group and the city looks to be pretty much over. In a press release, the ballot organizers accuse the city of not doing much to protect people over air and noise concerns. "We need to ban fracking in Denton precisely because the city's non-response to their failures typifies its oversight of fracking," Earthworks organizer Sharon Wilson said in a statement.

Baker, from the city, claims that the city did test for noise levels during the actual drilling a few months ago and says that EagleRidge was in compliance. And as far as air pollution, "any air pollution concerns were deferred to the TCEQ," she says.

Given that the TCEQ is still in the whole global-warming denial phase, we doubt they'll get too interested in investigating this.


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8 comments
todzebub
todzebub

Doesn't fracking use millions of gallons of water for each well? Where does the water come from and do citizens compete for drinking water with these companies?

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

And this is why we can never allow these idiot politicians to allow fracking in Dallas. Once you do its a bitch to stop.

schermbeck
schermbeck

"And as far as air pollution, "any air pollution concerns were deferred to the TCEQ," she says." But you left out the rest of that cynical sentence: "knowing they'll do nothing with them." It used to be conservatives were for more personal responsibility and local control.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

Big mistake in this article, it's not called "global warming".

ozonedude1
ozonedude1

Fracking bad. Siracha good. What's with the mixed messaging on the Texas solution Denton?

JFPO
JFPO

"...any air pollution concerns were deferred to the TCEQ." LOL

TXsharon
TXsharon

@todzebub The water comes from anywhere they can get it. During times of drought, residents are restricted on water use but the industry is not.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@ozonedude1

It's a matter of taste.

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