Fracking Bans Pass in Denton, Texas, Two California Counties and One Ohio Town
With a record number of fracking issues on local ballots in California, Texas and Ohio, the outcome was decidedly mixed. Of the eight measures—three in California, four in Ohio and one in Texas—four passed and four failed.
The biggest victory came in Denton in north Texas, located atop the lucrative Barnett shale play. After citizens demanded action from city council on a fracking ban and council punted last July, the issue went to the ballot where it passed last night.
"As I have stated numerous times, the democratic process is alive and well in Denton," said Denton mayor Chris Watts. "Hydraulic fracturing, as determined by our citizens, will be prohibited in the Denton city limits. The city council is committed to defending the ordinance and will exercise the legal remedies that are available to us should the ordinance be challenged."
Denton became the first city in Texas—a state where fracking has become big business—to pass such a ban, despite threats from the oil and gas industry to sue to overturn it. And it passed overwhelmingly, 59-41 percent, despite heavy spending by the industry.
"This is a victory for the citizens of the city of Denton, for our families, for our health, for our homes and for our future," said Cathy McMullen, president of citizens group Frack Free Denton. "This ban is the voice of the citizens of Denton speaking directly to the fracking industry, and local, state and national government: WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH. So try to overturn it if you will. But know that if you do, you are on the side of corporate interests and against the people."
"Denton, Texas, is where hydraulic fracturing was invented," said Earthworks energy program director Bruce Baizel. "It’s home to more than 275 fracked wells. It’s a place that knows fracking perhaps better than any other. If this place in the heart of the oil and gas industry can’t live with fracking, then who can? The answer, at present, is ‘no one.’ That’s why fracking bans and moratoria are spreading like wildfire across the country. And the oil and gas industry has no one but itself to blame. Perhaps banning fracking in Denton, Texas will finally force the oil and gas industry to clean up its act. Because blaming the impacted community is a losing strategy. It lost them Denton, and it will lose them the hearts and minds of the country."
It has also lost the hearts and minds of Mendocino and San Benito counties in California and Athens, Ohio, while California's Santa Barbara County and the cities of Kent, Gates Mills and Youngstown, Ohio weren't ready to put a ban in place.
"Mendocino County joins more than 150 communities across the U.S. that have adopted the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF)-drafted Community Bills of Rights to secure their unalienable rights to clean air and water, the rights of nature to exist and thrive and the rights of communities to local self-governance," CELDF said in a statement.
"CELDF has assisted these communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights. This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to elevate the rights of communities above the “rights” of corporations."
The oil and gas industry spent nearly $2 million in sparsely populated San Benito County, outspending ban supporters 15-1. Although there is currently no fracking in the county, fossil fuel interests were clearly concerned about the precedent it would set. In total the industry spent about $7.7 million, most of that in Santa Barbara, which is a major oil producer.
"Fracking is a dirty and dangerous way to drill for oil and natural gas," said Dan Jacobson of Environment California. "What's worse is fracking keeps us addicted to fossil fuels at the exact time we need to move to clean renewable energy. As world leaders travel to Lima Peru in December of 2014 and as more and more local cities and counties ban fracking, we need Governor Brown to reconsider his position on fracking and stop fracking in California."
Athens joins the Ohio communities of Yellow Springs, Oberlin, Mansfield and Broadview Heights, which have previously banned fracking within their city limits. That measure passed overwhelmingly with 78 percent of the vote.
“Ohio communities are challenging the corporate claimed 'right' to frack, as well as the claims of our state government that communities have no right to protect their own health, safety and welfare," said Tish O'Dell, Ohio community rights organizer at the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which worked with Athens in drafting its ballot measure. "They are joining dozens of other communities across the country who are securing their inalienable right to local self-governance and to a sustainable future.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch concurs, "This is huge news, and an indication that more and more Americans are rejecting oil and gas industry hyperbole, as well as this destructive, toxic process."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
The aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle (Phloeodes diabolicus) has an exoskeleton so strong, it can survive being pecked by birds and even run over by cars. When early entomologists tried to mount them as specimens, BBC News explained, that exoskeleton would snap or bend their pins.
- How to Save Insects - EcoWatch ›
- New Report Documents Global Insect Decline - EcoWatch ›
- How a Plastic-Eating Caterpillar Could Help Solve the World's ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
- Singapore Will Plant One Million Trees by 2030 - EcoWatch ›
- Australia to Build the World's Largest Solar Farm to Power Singapore ›
- Giant Water Battery Cuts University's Energy Costs by $100 Million ... ›
We pet owners know how much you love your pooch. It's your best friend. It gives you pure happiness and comfort when you're together. But there are times that dogs can be very challenging, especially if they are suffering from a certain ailment. As a dog owner, all you want to do is ease whatever pain or discomfort your best friend is feeling.
By Tara Lohan
In 1999 a cheering crowd watched as a backhoe breached a hydroelectric dam on Maine's Kennebec River. The effort to help restore native fish populations and the river's health was hailed as a success and ignited a nationwide movement that spurred 1,200 dam removals in two decades.
Transmission lines from the Churchill Falls generating station in Labrador. Douglas Spott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Atlantic sturgeon were brought to the brink of extension in the 20th century and are now are listed as an endangered species. NOAA
Near Happy Valley-Goose Bay on the Churchill (Grand) River downstream from Muskrat Falls. Douglas Sprott / CC BY-NC 2.0
Construction of the Site C dam in British Columbia in 2017. Jason Woodhead / CC BY 2.0
The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island is the first U.S. offshore wind farm. Dennis Schroeder / NREL / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The excess carbon dioxide emitted by human activity since the start of the industrial revolution has already raised the Earth's temperature by more than one degree Celsius, increased the risk of extreme hurricanes and wildfires and killed off more than half of the corals in the Great Barrier Reef. But geologic history shows that the impacts of greenhouse gases could be much worse.
- Earth Is Hurtling Towards a Catastrophe Worse Than the Dinosaur ... ›
- Are We Doomed If We Don't Curb Carbon Emissions by 2030 ... ›
- Humans Release 40 to 100x More CO2 Than Volcanoes, Major ... ›