92 Year Old Great Grandmother And Son Block Denton Fracking Operation
In Acts of Civil Disobedience, Elder Mother and Son Stage Sit-In for Local Control to Stop First Post-HB40 Fracking in Denton
DENTON, TX–TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2015– Two Denton residents have blocked the entrance to the city’s first active fracking operation since the passage of HB40, a state bill which strips local control of fracking from all cities across Texas. Violet Palmer, a 92 year old great grandmother, and her son Theron Palmer, seated themselves in front of fracking trucks attempting to enter Vantage Energy’s urban fracking site. Theron has locked himself to the gates of the site and both are refusing to leave.
“I am standing up today because never in my lifetime has there been such an egregious disregard for the democratic process in Texas,” said Violet. “We, the citizens of Denton clearly indicated our frustrations with regulating fracking when we voted for the fracking ban last November. The Texas legislature ignored our vote and our community standards.”
Denton’s prohibition on hydraulic fracturing was supported by nearly 60 percent of voters last November; however, industry-sponsored state lawmakers responded with the passage of HB40, a law that effectively preempts all local control of oil and gas regulations statewide. Less than 48 hours after HB40 was signed into law, Colorado based Vantage Energy announced that it would bring fracking back to Denton at a site located directly across the street from a neighborhood and several businesses.
“To imply that the expertise to regulate oil and gas resides only within the confines of Austin, is a condescending slap at the intelligence and due diligence of our local citizenry,” stated Theron Palmer. “We clearly expressed our community standards, now nullified and replaced by the very narrow interests of those economic elites who dominate oil and gas development and hence the Texas legislature.”
Over the course of the last two weeks Denton residents have been taking direct action to enforce the city’s fracking ban. In the first week since fracking operations returned to Denton, dozens of residents blocked the gates, resulting in seven arrests. Residents have also organized weekly events dubbed “Frack Free Fridays,” promising to maintain a large presence at Vantage Energy’s site until the operator respects Denton’s vote and permanently ends all fracking within city limits.
“To paraphrase Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good women to do nothing. So I am doing something,” said Violet Palmer.
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