Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

North Texas Town Rejects Fracking Ban

Energy

Denton was on the brink of becoming the first city in Texas to ban fracking, but city council rejected the measure.

Council listened to eight hours of testimony, according to the Associated Press, before voting against the ban by a five-two count. Voters will have their say on the issue during the November election.

Environmental groups and the industry continued their lengthy battle over the issue mere days before council made its decision. Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman told Denton's mayor that a fracking ban in Denton would increase the country's dependence on foreign fossil fuels, while some companies had been circulating fake petitions in an attempt to trick residents into supporting fracking. It all made for an intense debate.

“The vote was theater,” Denton resident Cathy McMullen told DeSmogBlog.

After failing in city council, Denton's fracking ban will be on the November ballot. Photo credit: Texas Tribune

Denton is on the Barnett Shale, which some say is one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S.

Testimonies about fracking for that gas ranged from a former state Supreme Court justice stating that thousands of his Texas Oil and Gas Association members would sue if the ban were passed, to residents who wanted the city to let people retract their signatures from the phony petitions. Still, Sharon Wilson of Earthworks said she and others wouldn't have pushed for the ban "if the industry had approached anything near reasonableness" instead of breaking setback and flaring rules in the city.

Additionally, Adam Briggle, vice president of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, told DeSmogBlog that the group would take a realistic approach and not try to ban all drilling.

“There are already 287 wells within Denton’s City limits,” Briggle said. “The group's initiative is to ban new fracking, not stop drilling altogether.”

Eleven-year-old Boy Scout Riley Briggs was also among the 500 people who attended the meeting. He testified that he stopped visiting a city park after gas wells were installed across the street. Others came to tears as they discussed health issues that are augmented by fracking.

“Peer-reviewed science verifies the harms of fracking," Briggle wrote in an opinion piece for the Denton Record-Chronicle prior to the vote. "Even according to the industry’s own estimates, the cost of banning fracking will amount to a mere fraction of a percent of Denton’s annual budget. Yet, still all they talk about is how much revenue we stand to lose from the ban."

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less
Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. JustTulsa / CC BY 2.0

Much of Eastern Oklahoma, including most of Tulsa, remains an Indian reservation, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Read More Show Less
The Firefly Watch project is among the options for aspiring citizen scientists to join. Mike Lewinski / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.0

By Tiffany Means

Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you're already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one's home or backyard.

Read More Show Less
People sit at the bar of a restaurant in Austin, Texas, on June 26, 2020. Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to be closed by noon on June 26 and for restaurants to be reduced to 50% occupancy. Coronavirus cases in Texas spiked after being one of the first states to begin reopening. SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The coronavirus may linger in the air in crowded indoor spaces, spreading from one person to the next, the World Health Organization acknowledged on Thursday, as The New York Times reported. The announcement came just days after 239 scientists wrote a letter urging the WHO to consider that the novel coronavirus is lingering in indoor spaces and infecting people, as EcoWatch reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A never-before-documented frog species has been discovered in the Peruvian highlands and named Phrynopus remotum. Germán Chávez

By Angela Nicoletti

The eastern slopes of the Andes Mountains in central Perú are among the most remote places in the world.

Read More Show Less