This morning dozens of Denton residents surrounded the gates to Vantage Energy’s active fracking operation on Nail Road, demonstrating their long term commitment to defend their ordinance which bans fracking within city limits. In a weekly event dubbed “Frack Free Fridays,” community members will be amassing every Friday to maintain constant pressure on Vantage Energy as the first fracking operator to violate Denton’s fracking ban.
“I live in constant fear for the health and safety of my family,” said Sheila Achuff, who lives in the neighborhood directly across the street from the frack well. “It’s unfair for my children to be exposed to these toxic chemicals. Like every good parent I just want to protect and provide for their safety.”
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.
“Our city’s fracking ban is a perfect example of local direct democracy in action,” said Elida Tamez, a Denton resident attending the event who was arrested in an act of civil disobedience last week for blocking the gates to the fracking site and refusing to move. “Apparently Vantage has no respect for democracy. They could choose to respect our vote, but instead they value profits over people.”
Today’s event began with a community breakfast attended by several neighbors who live a few hundred feet from the active fracking site. Spirits were high as the crowd sang songs, marched in the streets, and listened to powerful testimony from impacted neighborhood residents. Community members maintained a presence outside the gates of the Vantage Energy site for much of the morning. Momentum is already building for next week.