92-Year-Old Texas Woman Jailed for Protesting Pro-Fracking State Law
Despite overwhelming citizen support, Denton City Council repeals local anti-fracking ordinance
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."
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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: