Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

Earlier this year, Denton residents went to the Texas capital to defend their fracking ban. (Photo: Frack Free Denton/Facebook)

With Local Democracy Squashed, Fracking to Resume in Texas Town

Just seven months ago, nearly 60 percent of Denton voters approved local fracking ban, but city says law is 'rendered unenforceable' by state legislation

Deirdre Fulton

Less than two weeks after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation to prevent local municipalities from regulating a wide variety of drilling practices, fracking is set to resume in the city of Denton, where nearly 60 percent of voters banned the practice last November.

According to KERA News, "Vantage Energy plans to resume fracking operations at eight gas wells in the North Texas city on June 1, the Colorado-based operator has told city officials, and it plans to frack at least eight more wells later in the year—flouting the town's seven-month-long ban on the controversial technique of blasting apart shale to bolster petroleum production."

The new state law—House Bill 40—forbids the city from enforcing the ban, though Denton vowed in a press release to "continue to regulate other surface activities related to drilling operations per our existing oil and gas well drilling ordinance."

Of the state ban on fracking bans, the group Frack Free Denton wrote earlier this month that "the legislature just used its oil and gas money and its bully pulpit in Austin to overturn a grassroots democratic decision in Denton."

KERA News reports "[t]here are rumblings about town that some Denton residents — unhappy with the city’s decision to stand down — plan to protest around the Vantage well sites."

As Frack Free Denton previously declared: "We can’t say for sure, but it’s a good guess that the people of Denton won’t just let that happen without at least bearing some sort of witness there to the demise of democracy."

In Oklahoma, where a sharp uptick in earthquakes has been conclusively linked to fracking, the state legislature has passed similar legislation that would overturn an 80-year-old statute that allows cities and towns to ban drilling operations within their borders. That bill is currently awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Mary Fallin.

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

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·

Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·

NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo