Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Violet Palmer and her son protesting at the gates of the Vantage Energy drilling site in Denton, Texas. (Photo: Blackland Prairie Rising Tide/cc/flickr)

Violet Palmer and her son protesting at the gates of the Vantage Energy drilling site in Denton, Texas. (Photo: Blackland Prairie Rising Tide/cc/flickr)

92-Year-Old Texas Woman Jailed for Protesting Pro-Fracking State Law

Despite overwhelming citizen support, Denton City Council repeals local anti-fracking ordinance

Lauren McCauley

92-year-old Violet Palmer of Denton, Texas said she was moved to act after the state, overriding the will of the people, passed a law forbidding municipalities from enacting fracking bans.

On Tuesday, Palmer, her 64-year-old son Theron, and a small group of activists were arrested for protesting at the gates of the first new drilling site in Denton since residents voted overwhelmingly to ban the practice last November.  

"Really, there is so little I can do, but I do it by protesting," said Palmer, who is partially blind. "I did feel compelled. I feel like I must do something."


We Interrupt This Article with an Urgent Message!

Common Dreams is a not-for-profit news service. All of our content is free to you - no subscriptions; no ads. We are funded by donations from our readers.

Our critical Mid-Year fundraiser is going very slow - only 612 readers have contributed so far. We must meet our goal before we can end this fundraising campaign and get back to focusing on what we do best.
If you support Common Dreams and you want us to survive, we need you now.
Please make a tax-deductible gift to our Mid-Year Fundraiser now!

According to a local NBC affiliate, when officers arrived at the Vantage Energy drill site "they found Theron Palmer had chained himself to the gate, and his mother had placed a rocking chair next to him. After officers warned the duo, Theron Palmer was cut free, and both were taken into custody."

Violet Palmer was reportedly released a short time later with no bond, while her son was released with a $500 bond for trespassing and a $1,000 bond for obstructing a highway.

On Wednesday morning, the Denton City Council announced it had voted to repeal the local fracking ban on the grounds that the city faced a slew of pending lawsuits and, further, that the local ban was rendered unenforceable by the new state law.

"This is not about my age. This is about my vote."
—Violet Palmer, 92

The council said repealing the ban was "in the overall interest of the Denton taxpayers to strategically repeal the ordinance." They added that the decision "was not taken lightly" by the Council, which voted 6-1, "balancing all concerns and concluding the litigation on the matter."

Ahead of the City Council meeting, Palmer said of the state's influence on the local ban, "I didn't think it could happen here...To have their vote just taken away, just destroyed, ignored, destroyed, and it was very upsetting."

"This is not about my age," she said of her protest. "This is about my vote."

The Palmer family said this is the first time that she had been arrested. Her mugshot, below, was posted online:

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

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Africans Should Be 'Applauded, Not Punished,' Say Advocates Amid Omicron Travel Ban

"What is going on right now is inevitable," said African Union Vaccine Delivery Alliance co-chair Dr. Ayoade Alakija. "It's a result of the world's failure to vaccinate in an equitable, urgent, and speedy manner."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Drilling Report Blasted as 'Shocking Capitulation to the Needs of Corporate Polluters'

"Greenlighting more fossil fuel extraction, then pretending it's OK by nudging up royalty rates, is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," said one campaigner.

Jessica Corbett ·

UNESCO Members Adopt First Global AI Ethics Agreement 'To Benefit Humanity'

"We're at a critical juncture in history," said Ethics in Tech founder Vahid Razavi. "We need as humans to come together and decide what is the best course of action to take with these technologies before they surpass us in their abilities."

Brett Wilkins ·

Progressive US Lawmakers Mark Black Friday With Calls to Pass the PRO Act

"The right to organize, fight for better working conditions, and fair pay must always be protected."

Jessica Corbett ·

'We Are Fighting Back': Global Black Friday Strikes and Protests Seek to #MakeAmazonPay

"We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes, and for its impact on the planet."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo