Denton is a city of over 120,000 in North Texas, near Ft. Worth. There are more than 270 active gas wells within the city limits, some less than 200 feet from homes.
In 2011, local residents formed The Denton Drilling Awareness Group (Denton DAG) to protect their community from drilling. DAG is dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of gas well drilling and its related processes to public health, the environment, and property values.
After years spent trying to devise rules that might make fracking compatible with their community, Dentonites found themselves stuck in a nightmare: the industry corrupted the process then refused to follow even the very weak rules that were passed. Residents learned they could have healthy neighborhoods or they could have fracking but they couldn't have both. They decided the only option to protect their community was to ban fracking.
“The city and the state have repeatedly failed us,” said Denton local Maile Bush, whose family is impacted by fracking-enabled oil and gas development. “My family is breathing horrible fumes, we can’t enjoy our property and we’re trapped because no one else wants to live here. To protect our homes and our health, we’ve got no choice but to ban fracking.”
Denton's history of drilling makes their call for a ban all the more important. They've lived with drilling and they've had enough.
Petition for a ban
In March 2014, DAG and Earthworks began collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to ban fracking within city limits. If approved, Denton would become the first major Texas city to ban fracking, and the first city in the country to ban fracking after permits had been granted.
Drilling in a Denton neighborhood.
The petition garnered 1,871 signatures -- 2,200 people voted in the last municipal election.
DAG submitted the petition to City Council in May 2014, where it was validated by the City Secretary.
In response to the petition another petition of dubious origin is being circulated by 'paid protesters.' Making $2.50/signature plus bonuses, these petition signature collectors have been stopping Denton residents on the street and misrepresenting their petition as being for a ban, when really it's against the ban.
City Council vote fails
On July 15, 2014, City Council held a public hearing to discuss the ban. More than 500 people showed up, over 100 signed up to speak and 201 filled out comment cards. Some speakers and observers even came from out of state. The hearing lasted eight hours.
Finally, at 3am, the City Council voted 5-2 against the ban.
Because City Council failed to pass the ban the intiative will go to a public vote on the November ballot.
You can help
Support a Frack Free Denton today! Donate now to help the first city in Texas ban fracking.
For more information:
- Frack Free Denton
- You can help: Donate to our Denton campaign
- Adam Briggle Denton Drilling
- Earthworks Citizens of Denton, Texas Call For Fracking Ban
- Earthworks Fracking ban ballot initiative submitted to Denton City Council
- TXSharon Denton