Congratulations everyone! It’s official: Frack Free Denton turned in nearly 2,000 signatures of registered voters who want to ban fracking within the city limits of our town. Thank you so much to everyone who signed, circulated petitions, knocked doors, tabled, hosted events, donated, played music, spread the word, and supported the first leg of this journey!
The final count was 1,936 signatures which is three times the amount required by the city! As NPR reported today, “Nearly as many people signed a petition to outlaw fracking within the city limits of Denton as voted in the last municipal election.”- Read More
This is truly a citizens’ initiative in every sense and the support it has garnered is a true testament to how ready we are as a city to be frack free. As Cathy McMullen, president of DAG said today as she turned in the petitions to city hall, “We have something industry can’t buy: a community that wants to protect each other”. We thank you so much for your part in this first phase.
This should have been a no brainer but once again Denton city council chooses industry’s wants over residents need for a safe place to raise their children.
An editorial by Cathy McMullen that appeared in Earth Island Journal.
The Texas government and regulatory agencies aren’t looking out for regular folks like us
As a life long Texan, I grew up with oil and gas drilling. As kids, pumpjacks reminded us of Texas-sized grasshoppers. And we greeted each new well with anticipation because it might mean big money for family or friends. But that was before the pairing of horizontal drilling with high-pressure, slick-water fracking morphed oil and gas development into a different animal entirely.
Today, oil and gas wells bring fear to neighborhoods.
Independent tests of fracking operations prove
city cannot be trusted to oversee fracking
May 1st, Denton — Today the Denton Drilling Awareness Group (Denton DAG) released infrared videos of fracking sites within the city, and summa canister test results showing toxic benzene in a city resident’s yard adjacent to a fracking operation. Both prove the City Council is breaking its public promises to monitor fracking air pollution.
The series of videos from the three fracking-enabled drilling sites, — taken over a period of several weeks with an infrared FLIR camera widely used by Texas regulators, — show Volatile Organic Compounds pollution near residences. VOCs often include cancer causing toxics like benzene.
The summa canister test, a method also widely used by Texas and federal regulators, was taken from a Denton resident’s backyard less than 425 feet from an EagleRidge fracking operation. The tested residence is one of many adjacent to the same fracking operation. The summa test, performed near the end of the flowback process, showed that residents were exposed to levels of benzene pollution exceeding state long term exposure limits and six other compounds including acetone
In 2013, the Denton City Council promised in an open public meeting that it would, if not proactively prevent pollution from fracking operations, at least monitor those operations to insure that they weren’t polluting the air. This promise was essential because a loophole in the Denton City ordinance allows some fracking operations within 250 feet of residences.
“These tests show the City of Denton cannot be trusted to protect its citizens from fracking,” said Cathy McMullen, president of the Denton DAG. She continued, “Because the City cannot uphold its public promises to measure fracking pollution — let alone prevent it — we have no option but to protect our health by banning fracking altogether.”
“The City’s broken promises on fracking have hurt my family,” said Deborah Ingram, in whose yard the summa canister test revealed benzene air pollution from fracking. She continued, “I have had nose bleeds and breathing trouble as a result of this industry. I support a fracking ban because both city and state government seem more interested in protecting the industry than protecting the public.”
“Recent studies indicate the closer one is to the fracking process, the greater one’s negative health effect risk,” said Rhonda Love, a retired professor of public health and Denton DAG secretary. She continued, “Fracking has not been demonstrated to be safe. We must ask why we are exposing families to such risks.”
The Denton Drilling Awareness Group is in the final stages of gathering signatures in support of a ballot initiative to ban all fracking within city limits. The initiative would not ban oil and gas extraction, just hydraulic fracturing.
A celebration party will be held on May 4th at 805 Ector Street to gather last minute signatures and consolidate the various petitions. The signatures, which already exceed the minimum requirement to put the ban initiative on the fall ballot, will be formally submitted to the city the following week
The Denton city council voted 7 to 0 to repeal the noise ordinance for gas well drilling sites on 3/18/2014. You can read DAG grades for the new drilling ordinance in 2013 and see an A was given to the new drilling ordinance noise requirements. Well, it seems the frackers were having a hard time complying so the city has decided to increase the noise allowed at drilling site from 65 dba to 85 dba. The explanation we received was it would be easier to “enforce” the increased noise limits and make it easier for the police dept. to “enforce legitimate complaints”. Having been at the Vintage and Meadows of Hickory Creek neighborhoods during fracking, flowback, and flaring I can guarantee you all noise complaints were legitimate and the city did not enforce the noise ordinance at 65dba. So it does make perfect sense to keep raising the limit until the city can find a noise the frackers can comply with, say 150dba?