92 Year Old Great Grandmother And Son Block Denton Fracking Operation

texasCross-posted from Blackland Prairie Rising Tide

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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Residents Rally at Vantage Energy Frack Site in Denton for Frack Free Fridays, Demand Local Control

Cross-posted from Blackland Prairie Rising Tide

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 11427407_925680417454274_3490552003131826955_ofirst 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.

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Protesters Arrested Stopping Work at Denton’s New Fracking Site

day 2MEDIA RELEASE: June 2, 2015

Contact: Elida Tamez, 940-367-2159

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Protesters Arrested Stopping Work at Denton’s New Fracking Site

DENTON, TX – June 2, 2015 -Today, three more citizens of Denton were arrested in an act of civil disobedience after refusing leave Vantage Energy’s new fracking site. Gathering with several dozen other community members at the site, the three intentionally refused to leave the driveway to the drilling area after police dispersal orders were issued with the intention of stopping work.

“I want to enforce our fracking ban and I believe that democracy is not being served,” said Elida Tamez, a former University of North Texas employee who was among those arrested, “I’m very angry at the state legislature because the people have voted and majority rules. I’m doing it because I feel that it is a very unjust situation at hand.”

Today’s action taken by the three citizens comes just a day after three others were arrested for also refusing to leave the site. The ongoing protests come just after the passage of HB 40, which overturned Denton’s ban on hydraulic fracturing. In November the citizens of Denton voted for the ban in a landslide vote. Less than 48 hours after the ban was declared unenforceable, Colorado based Vantage Energy announced that they would bring fracking back to Denton at the site located directly across the street from a neighborhood and several businesses.

day 2 2“I chose not to move after receiving a dispersal order from the police. I participated in civil disobedience not only because of environmental and health reasons but also because of the threat to our democracy that HB 40 poses,” said Jonathon Vann, a long-time resident and Frack Free Denton volunteer arrested today. “The will of the people must be respected and that is why I refused to stand aside today.”

Despite claims to be a “good neighbor” to the people living near the site, community members are concerned with the company’s record on public safety. On May 7 it was a Vantage well that was struck by lightning in Denton, which then burned off for over 7 hours while firefighters awaited Vantage’s emergency response team. On April 11, a serious mishap happened during the fracking process in Arlington, Texas causing a blowout at the well and forced 115 homes to be evacuated.

“Last November I took part in one of our country’s most authentic expressions of democracy. A popular referendum,” said Rodney Love, a longtime resident and small-business owner. “Despite overwhelming odds, our city voted to restrict future hydraulic fracturing within our city limits. We chose together to protect our water, air, and the health of our children. I stand with my fellow citizens to protect our right to decide what is best for our community within a free democracy.”

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Tree-Sit Launched in Burrillville, RI to Prevent Spectra’s Fracked-Gas Pipeline Construction

fangTree-Sit Launched in Burrillville, RI to Prevent Spectra’s Fracked-Gas Pipeline Construction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2015

Contact: Sherrie Anne Andre, 401-474-7666

Nick Katkevich, 401-572-8148, nick@fangtogether.org

Social Service Advocate Launches Tree-Sit to Prevent Pipeline Construction

BURRILLVILLE, RI – A local woman launched a tree sit at the edge of a gas compressor station in Burrillville this morning to prevent its proposed expansion. The station, owned and operated by Spectra Energy, pressurizes and moves gas along the “Algonquin” Pipeline. Spectra is planning to nearly double the capacity of the compressor station as part of the highly protested “AIM” pipeline expansion project.

Sherrie Anne Andre, a member of FANG (Fighting Against Naturals Gas), and a Rhode Island native is holding the tree-sit “indefinitely”. The sit is aimed at preventing the tree clearing necessary for constructing the addition to the compressor station.

Andre is occupying a platform that is suspended 60 feet high on a tree located just yards away from the existing gas compressor station. A banner hanging from the platform reads “Spectra’s Toxins are Trespassing on Our Bodies, #StopSpectra”, highlighting the health impacts that residents face during the extraction, transportation and burning of fracked-gas.

Citing her eight years of professional work as an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic assault Andre relayed that, “Spectra’s proposed project would hurt families  along the pipeline route and in the areas where the gas is extracted. If I truly believe I am an advocate, then I am exactly where I need to be – participating in a nonviolent direct action to stop this harm.”

In her work with FANG, Andre researches the social impacts connected with the development of fossil fuel infrastructure. “From places of extraction like the Bakken oil fields that saw a 300% increase in sexual assault after industry moved in, to Pennsylvania’s shalefields where hard drug use rates have risen – the fossil fuel industry devastates communities.”

In March the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, charged with reviewing interstate gas pipeline projects, gave initial approval to the AIM pipeline project. Spectra has still has not received final approval from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management and the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council.

Last month, protestors delivered a “final notice” to Spectra, giving the company forty days to either cancel the AIM project or face increased community resistance. A national “week of action” targeting Spectra Energy is scheduled to start on June 6th, marking the end of the forty day window.

Sherrie called for people to participate saying “if you also believe that what Spectra is doing is wrong, I ask you to join me in taking action to stop them.”

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