For nearly fifteen years, a blight has crept over our town. It started slowly in remote areas. But then it accelerated. Then it infected our neighborhoods. Our parks. Our schools.
For a long time, we were slumbering. We didn’t understand what was happening.
When we finally awoke to the dangers of fracking, it was too late to control it.
But we didn’t want to believe that. For four years (2009-13) we worked on local rules.
In some sense, we suspected it was a fool’s errand. After all, here was the only industry allowed in neighborhoods (not even bakeries get that leeway) and the only industry permitted to release non-disclosed toxins into the environment.
But still we pushed on. Maybe we can find a set of rules, we thought, that would permit fracking AND protect our health, safety, and well-being.
Though far from perfect, we got a fairly reasonable ordinance. Citizens compromised with industry members, who formed a majority on our advisory task force. The new ordinance set a 1,200 foot buffer between frack sites, homes, parks, hospitals, and schools.
The problem was that our rules don’t apply. Because state regulations favor the industry, we saw fracking less than 200 feet from homes AFTER we passed our ordinance.
The cows are already out of the barn. Those calling for “responsible” fracking know that our rules can’t control the industry. Their “responsible” is code for the status quo. There are 281 gas wells in the city limits. Over 10,000 acres are already permitted for fracking. All of it is vested under older laws that allow fracking less than 200 feet from homes.
The only responsible option they left us is the ban.
Now Denton is at a crossroads. We are writing a comprehensive plan. By 2030, our population will be doubled. Denton will build 37,000 new housing units in the gas patch with hundreds of acres already fracked and thousands more on tap.
What is the future of Denton? Without the ban: neighborhood industrialization. Less developable land and higher costs of development. Thousands more families unwittingly exposed to risks of blowouts. Easily another billion gallons of water contaminated forever. Further risks to our ground and surface water. More ozone, meaning Denton continues to have the worst air quality and highest rates of childhood asthma in the state. More chemical exposure. Denton families taking 2% of the profits in exchange for 100% of the pollution.
That’s the path they call “responsible.” Could that be because the two leaders of their group make more royalties than the entire Denton Independent School District? Our children get hazardous chemical emissions next to their schools in return for $20 per student. Meanwhile, they make off with $190,000 annually. Whose future is this all about?
Denton is in a unique situation. This isn’t about what’s right for other places. This is about our Denton. Our right to self-determination.
The ban will bring a new dawn for Denton. A new light is on our horizon – health, safety, community integrity, quality of life, protection of home values and property rights…
The guardians of the old ways want to scare us that the ban will cost Denton. Yet their own numbers show that in fact it is fracking that has been costing us all along. Every acre it claims means 4x less tax revenue for our schools and 2x less economic activity. And then we are saddled forever with land that cannot be developed. Worthless scars of the blight.
They wanted to block out the sun that is rising over Denton, but they only showed us just how bright it really is. Our future after the ban means more health AND more prosperity.
They are getting desperate. Calling us un-American. Suggesting that benzene isn’t really that bad after all.
Every time they try to block out the sun, it inches higher. It peeks over their hands and shines on more people. Those who have seen Denton’s new future are going door to door. They are hosting fundraisers. They are handing out flyers. They are ordering yard signs. They are wearing t-shirts and buttons. And they are going to vote.
They are spreading the light.
The future of Denton is ours to decide. Vote FOR the ban.