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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How a ruby-red Texas town turned against fracking




Last month, Denton, a college town not far from Dallas, voted to ban hydraulic fracturing – thanks in no small part to a dedicated band of mainly female activists. How did they manage to beat big oil?

"The fracking ban that comes into effect on Tuesday in the heart of Texas might never have happened at all, if industry had not insisted on fracking beside a local hospital, a children’s playground, and the 100-year-old farmhouse that was Cathy McMullen’s retirement dream. That brought fracking a step too far. McMullen believes such overreach – typical under the Texas regulatory framework – helped turn a ruby-red Republican town against fracking. Despite industry objections – and death threats for McMullen and other activists, Denton voted by 60% to ban fracking last month. The victorious activists like to call their fight David v Godzilla, because the oil industry is so powerful in Texas. That fight is not over yet.
George P Bush, the nephew and grandson of the former presidents, will soon take charge of the General Land Office – one of two Texas state agencies that have joined an industry lawsuit to overturn the ban.But McMullen and the small group of mainly female activists behind the ban are already inspiring towns in Texas and elsewhere that are looking for ways to rein in an industry that so far has enjoyed supreme rights to frack. The oil and gas companies probably would be fracking still in Denton if they had not completely dismissed McMullen’s concerns, she said. “They underestimated us completely,” she said. “I think they all just thought: ‘Oh, it’s just Cathy.’ I don’t think they saw the storm clouds on the horizon, and that industry was creating this storm, and that it was going to blow into town, and everybody was just sick of it.”"

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/02/denton-texas-fracking-ban-oil?CMP=fb_gu