#1: Fracking is bad news for property rights
Fracking has been shown to decrease nearby residential property values and can make it more difficult to get a home mortgage and insurance. Forty-three families in Denton have sued EagleRidge Energy for $25 million in damage, nuisance, and trespass. The right to property comes with an obligation to respect others’ rights to their property. Fracking companies are abusing their rights by harming others.
#2: Fracking poisons our neighborhoods
Evidence is mounting about the health risks of fracking, and air samples from a Denton neighborhood near gas wells showed benzene – a carcinogen – at unsafe levels. Fracking is a nasty business. Would you want this near your home? In Denton, fracking is allowed 250 feet from homes and playgrounds.
#3: Fracking is dangerous
All of the 270 gas wells in Denton are susceptible to accidents like this explosion that caused an entire Texas town to be evacuated. One of EagleRidge Energy’s wells in Denton experienced a blowout for over 14 hours that spewed thousands of gallons of undisclosed and toxic chemicals into the environment.
#4: Fracking is a uniquely invasive industry
Fracking is the only industry allowed to operate in residential areas and it is also the only industry permitted by law to release non-disclosed and unmonitored toxic chemicals into the environment.
#5: Fracking harms air quality
Denton has the worst air quality in Texas. Oil and gas production in the DFW area is responsible for more smog-causing VOC emissions than all the cars on the road. Gas well sites are permitted by state law to emit 25 tons of VOCs annually. Ozone in areas with fracking is rising at a higher rate than other areas.
#6: Fracking is under-regulated
The oil and gas industry is exempt from key provisions of seven federal environmental laws. And the EPA abandoned three of its own studies after preliminary results showed fracking had polluted nearby water wells. The Railroad Commission can only monitor about half the wells in Texas. The fossil fuel industry accounts for roughly 80% of all the campaign finance funds donated to incumbent Railroad Commissioners.
#7: Local government has failed to protect citizens
Denton’s government passed an ordinance that allows fracking 250 feet from homes. It promised to implement an air monitoring program but never did. It failed to adopt safety provisions used by other cities in the region.
#8: Fracking is only going to get worse
Experts predict an additional 14,000 gas wells in the area. Denton has already permitted thousands of acres for fracking. The industry claims these sites were “permitted in perpetuity” for “as many wells as anyone wanted.”
#9: Fracking is a drag on the local economy
Denton residents own just about 2% of minerals underneath the city. Royalties paid to the City of Denton account for less than 1% of the city budget. Taxes from wells amount to only about 0.5% of all city property tax revenues. The biggest beneficiaries from fracking in Denton are out-of-town companies and absentee mineral owners. Furthermore, the industry’s own report shows that fracking is an economic under-performer. Building homes rather than frack sites generates 2x as much economic activity and 4x as much tax revenue per acre. Every acre devoted to fracking, then, means more pollution and less tax revenues for our roads and schools. Plus, it means the taxpayers are stuck with land that is blighted and worth less…forever.
#10: Fracking doesn’t suit Denton
Fracking is inconsistent with Denton’s identity and vision. Denton leads the nation with an energy portfolio comprised of 40% wind-generated electricity and is committed to sustainability and conservation.