Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

(Ed Andrieski/AP)

Fracking Industry Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?

Gardendale, Texas to face 300 backyard wells

Hydraulic fracturing operations planned for suburbs, mid-sized towns and large metropolitan areas, as opposed to the no-less-toxic rural sites more commonly known, are becoming increasingly common, the Guardian's Suzanne Goldenberg reports Wednesday—pointing to one suburban town in Texas that has become rife with backyard drilling wells and the stench of fracking at every front door.

Communities across the U.S. continue to battle the industry over how close drilling sites can come to heavily populated areas; however, as Goldenberg reports, in Gardendale, Texas where residents have little legal ground to stand on in the fight against fracking—due to zoning laws and a state that limits property owners' control over the extraction of oil and minerals underneath their land—we can find a prime example of what might happen to other communities across the country should they lose those battles.

"You can hear it, you can smell it, and you are always breathing it. It's just like being behind a car exhaust," said Debbie Leverett, during a tour of the area last October organized by the Society of Environmental Journalists. "All of your senses change."

Goldenberg continues:

Gardendale, a suburb of 1,500 people near the hub of the west Texas oil industry, exists in a legal and political environment in which there are seemingly few restrictions on fracking, even inside city limits. For residents here, fracking is part of daily life. [...]

Over the last few years oil companies have drilled 51 wells in Gardendale, an area that covers about 11 square miles – and that's just the start.

Berry Petroleum, the main oil developer, plans to drill as many as 300 wells in Gardendale. "Berry's current plan is to drill approximately 140 wells on 40-acre spacing in and around the Gardendale area," Jeff Coyle, a company spokesman, wrote in an email. "Additionally, we are preparing to conduct a pilot study on 20-acre spacing and, if those test results are encouraging and economic conditions warrant, we may drill up to 160 additional wells."

Some of those wells will be drilled within 150 feet of residents' front doors – far closer than in other towns in Texas.

For more, read this story at the Guardian here.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Eric Adams Rebuked for 'Dangerous' 400-Students-to-1-Teacher Theory

"Defunding schools to the point that we have a 400:1 student-to-teacher ratio so we can bankroll another huge expansion in an already-multibillion dollar police budget," said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, "is how you build a school-to-prison pipeline."

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Lack of Patent Waiver Would Add Over $70 Billion to Cost of Vaccinating World: Oxfam

Most of that money, said a spokesperson for the group, "will go directly into the pockets" of Big Pharma shareholders.

Jon Queally, staff writer ·


Darnella Frazier Receives Pulitzer Special Citation 'for Courageously Recording the Murder of George Floyd'

"Without Darnella, Derek Chauvin never would have been tried and George Floyd would have been blamed by the state for his own death."

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·


'We Are Sounding the Alarm': Global Left Warns Right-Wing Fujimori Trying to Steal Election in Peru

"Fujimori’s only way forward to victory is simple: annul tens of thousands of already tallied votes," warned Progressive International. "Powerful forces are organizing to deliver this outcome."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


'Climate Denial Masquerading as Bipartisanship': Progressives Reject Latest Infrastructure Compromise

"Refusing to act on climate means selling out future generations. The future of our planet and the health of our communities are non-negotiable."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·