The fracking industry and their supporters have accused the Frack Free Denton grassroots organization that is seeking a ban on fracking in the Denton city limits of receiving money from Russia.

…Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Barry Smitherman sent the Denton City Council a letter denouncing the ban. In the four-page letter, Smitherman suggests that Russia may be behind the effort,…

If you heard a woman’s mAnIciAL laughter this morning I confess it was mine. I’ve been too busy with local Texas issues lately to focus deeply on the happenings in Europe. This morning a friend pointed out that any sanctions the U.S. places on Russia will likely have an effect on U.S. oil companies consorting with Russia. Exxon and Shell won’t like it if President Obama messes up their consorting. For more information on U.S. fracking industry consorting in Russia, see the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Update: Exxon CEO, Rex Tillerson shares a joke with Russian leader, Putin.
Putin-Exxon-Mobil-Agrees-Arctic-007

Vladimir Putin meets with Chevron management.

Halliburton, BP and Russian Black Gold – a history BP and Halliburton involvement in Russia.

Picture: Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden Bows to Putin.

Caption: For over a 100 years, Shell has been driven by unscrupulous greed as its sole motivator. Shell funded Hitler and the Nazis party and has subsequently done business with a string of evil regimes, including General Sani Abacha, Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein and the Mad Mullahs of Iran. Putin is but the latest power mad egomaniac to be treated like royalty by Shell. Bowed to and fawned over on Good Friday by the overpaid bootlicker, Ben van Beurden.

President Vladimir Putin met with ConocoPhillips chief Jim Mulva

VLADIMIR PUTIN: Mr Mulva, I am very pleased to see you again, this time in Russia. As far as I know, your business is developing successfully. You cooperate with many of our major oil and gas companies. I would like to see relations between Russian and American business develop more dynamically, especially in such a strategic sphere, as energy. I have been told that you are involved in investment and have certain plans in this direction. I would like to express my hopes that this area of your work will be as successful as everything that you have done so far.

JIM MULVA: Mr President, allow me to thank you for those very warm words. I would like to say that we are working very energetically to invest considerable sums in the energy dialogue. We have conducted huge work since our last meeting, which I think took place nine months ago. I would like to say that this work is very intense, and we are creating a very good investment climate with your help and support. We hope that this will allow us to make long-term investments in the Russian economy. We will develop our work with major companies representing Russian business.

BP Profits On Sale Of TNK-BP As Production Surpasses 3 Million Barrels A Day

Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife! Cause they fracking errybody.”

Time for another confession from me:

SharonwithFFDPutin

My name is Sharon Wilson and I enjoy spending a leisurely Sunday riding my horse with shirtless Russian leaders (shirtless version HERE) even when said leaders show poor horsemanship (get off that horse’s mouth fer crine out loud and, OMG, feed him something).

Update 2: Other members of Frack Free Denton also enjoy spending time with Russian leaders.

cathyputin

I wonder what Mr Smitherman and all those industry hacks who made similar accusations when addressing the Denton City Council Tuesday will say about Exxon and Shell et. al. consorting with Russia. It will probably sound something like THIS.

I confess that very little time and effort went into this post.

Update: This post has been updated with additional information sent to me by readers about U.S. frackers and their involvement with Russia.

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Residents in the Big Bend area are sending out an SOS.

Fracking has been slithering ever closer to the Big Bend area and residents in Alpine and Marfa are not happy about it. Last week I received emails from a Marfa resident saying they were staging blockades to prevent the city from selling water for fracking. Residents of Alpine delivered an ordinance to ban fracking and are now gathering signatures. So many residents shows up to speak out against fracking, the city council meeting had to move to another venue.

Alpine Residents Overwhelmingly Against Fracking, Speak Out
NewsWest9.com

City leaders had to change venues for Tuesday’s city council meeting because of the huge turnout. Residents who spoke up said they wanted to make sure that this was kept the last frontier against these oil companies, and that leaders must set the example and move forward because according to one member of the public, “once things are poisoned they can’t go back.”

And fracking is already starting to have a negative effect on the McDonald Observatory’s dark sky. Some things are just to precious to even consider it. No fracking Big Bend area.

 photo TXBBend7.gif

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I don’t know how many reporters I spoke with yesterday before the Denton City Council voted to either adopt the citizen initiative to ban fracking in the city or rejected it but I told each one the same thing:

The Denton Council has never shown any political courage on this issue. Why would we think that would change now?

But, you know, there is always hope. And the Council’s aggressive response to industry during the hearing gave some a sense of false hope. The let down was brutal.

In the weeks leading up to last night’s public hearing that is required by city charter when citizens bring a verified initiative, the industry did what they do best. And that’s not drilling and fracking, folks. It’s bullying, lying, spreading propaganda and fear mongering. Their behavior and dirty tricks were abysmal and fooled no one who mattered and the Council called them out on it.

Well guess what. That will only get worse, much worse, now because instead of fixing the problem that they created,–the mayor, Chris Watts has admitted as much in recent interviews–the Council decided to make the voters bear the responsibility to fix what they broke.

Heard in the council chambers shortly after the vote by one of the industry suits representing mineral owners.

Good. They are taking it to a vote. All we have to do is rent up a bunch of cheap apartments and houses and get people to register to vote using those addresses.

I know who it was but I don’t have his name yet. He was there to speak on behalf of the mineral owners. Not the mineral owners with integrity but the ones who don’t mind profiting from another persons’ misery. And even if I have to watch the entire 8+/- hours of testimony again, I will post his name and picture here for you to see.

So there you have it. Just a taste of what the Denton City Council members have unleashed on their constituents. Millions will be spent and it will be ugly. And they unleashed this hell after admitting there is no way the vote will be fare fair because citizens cannot compete with the millions industry will pump into corrupting the vote.

About the meeting last night.

ShoesThe Denton Council Chambers were packed with industry suits. Some groups were brought in by vans. I noted in a tweet what nice shoes they all have, especially Chris Faulkner who has a history of questionable business dealings, and who was shredded and handed his ass by the council. (see our much nicer shoes ===>)

Again and again the industry promised to help find solutions to the problems they have created if only given a seat at the table. Again and again when asked for even one solution, they had nothing, zero, no solutions to offer.

In the parking lot, I told one industry representative from Austin that they were making promises like a cheating husband. His response: You aren’t going to get your ban, little lady.

Oh and, State Representatives Craig Estes, Lifestyles of the Corrupt and Elected,  and Myra Crownover, who owns a fracking company and mineral rights all over Texas, promised to help Denton find solutions. Neither had any tangible solutions to offer last night. Crownover warned it will take years because the Texas legislature works very slowly (it takes time wading through and counting all the industry money pumped into campaign coffers). She compared fracking to the nuisance of barking dogs.

Some of my favorite moments and random thoughts.

I would like to thank the industry for displaying their typical bullying tactics the past few weeks and thoroughly pissing off Denton so they responded by turning out. Despite industry’s attempts to overwhelm us, the opposite happened. Denton showed up and sounded off with some well informed, powerful and often highly entertaining testimony.

The blank stare of council when they were presented with the bogus petition. Priceless.

Batavia and John Russel did a reenactment of the petition circulator caught on video lying about the bogus petition. It was brilliant and had people in one overflow room roaring.

Tara Linn’s testimony was terrific. One favorite line was when she told council that more people signed the petition to ban fracking than voted for any of them.

Lawyer Sara Bagheri’s myth buster where she explained that a lawsuit will not cost the city a gazillion-billion dollars.

An expanded version of what I said on Facebook: I have been speaking about fracking issues at Denton City Council for 5 years. I am considered one of the nation’s top citizen experts on Fracking. I have briefed NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Gina McCarthy and other top regulators, am a source for national and international media, give tours to all manner of officials, speak at venues all across the nation including universities and etc. Last night was the first time anyone on Denton City Council has ever asked me a question. EVER!!! When Kevin Roden asked me a question, I nearly fainted.

Cathy McMullen’s brilliant testimony and amazing video. She too was questioned by council.

The whiny industry supporter who said our overflow room was full of a bunch of meanies and unfair to him because we were laughing, clapping and cheering for ban supporters. Um, dude, go to a different room.

Industry repeating over and over and over again the insulting claim that Russia and East and West Coast environmentalists are behind the ban effort. And the council making them look like fools for it over and over and over again. (Those guys don’t learn.)

If you want to help

Several people want to know how they can help the courageous people of Denton. Listen up, Denton has a lot of guts and a lot of smarts so we don’t need a lot of money to fight the millions industry will pour into this. But we do need some money. So please, give whatever you can. Earthworks has a page set up for Denton where you can give a donation that is tax deductible. Or you can give a gift at Frack Free Denton.

You could also buy one of our very cool t-shirts. Wear the t-shirt. Talk to people. Sign up for the mailing list. VOTE!

FFDatCouncilPhoto by Jennifer Lane

I only slept about 2 hours so I expect this will be edited at some point.

 

 

 

 

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I received this beautifully written essay from a mineral owner who is a Denton resident.

If someone offered to give you $10, but in exchange, you would have to agree to put a child at increased risk for leukemia, would you do it? What if the dollar amount were larger, such as $100? Or $1,000? Or $100,000? Or $1,000,000? Is there a monetary value at which you would agree to this arrangement?

Now, what if you were approached with the same scenario, but instead of leukemia, you would have to watch a child experience multiple nosebleeds? Would you agree to it? If so, for what amount of money?

Finally, what if you were told that you had no control over whether or not children would experience these health problems, but that you would receive millions and millions of dollars based on actions that caused nosebleeds and leukemia? Would you rationalize the situation by saying “I can’t do anything about it, so I may as well enjoy the money”?

This isn’t just a hypothetical ethical quiz, but rather, it’s the reality of those who benefit financially from fracking (hydraulic fracturing). I’m one of those people. I can’t use my real name here because the oil and gas industry is so vicious that I would be endangering myself if they found out that I was writing this. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. If you think that their public actions are awful, imagine how much worse they are when they can do horrible things behind closed doors.

So I’ll add this disclaimer: if a reporter reads this and wants to confirm my identity, I’ll consent and provide more details as long as I have an assurance of my anonymity as a news source.

Now, back to the scenarios of money in exchange for childhood illnesses. The oil and gas industry claims that there are no related health problems, in spite of mounting evidence that proves them wrong. They’ve even bribed university-affiliated scientists to back them up with scientifically deceptive research. And they bully public officials into caving when local residents demand more regulations, by threatening multi-million dollar lawsuits.

All of these issues get back to money, the false idol that Jesus warned us about (“No one can serve two masters”). And we as a society have grown to love the almighty dollar. It drives so many of the decisions we make. Fracking is no exception.

I’m not going to pretend that it’s always been easy for me to take a stance against fracking. As someone who grew up poor, the money has been seductive at times, until I step back and remind myself that it is indeed a false idol. Every single day, I tell myself not to let the money take over my soul. I step up this mantra once a month when my bank account suddenly has an infusion of funds, which can be several hundred thousand dollars in a single month.

Sometimes I cry when I look at my bank account. I get distraught when I see the money and know that children are suffering. I think about how I’ve been told that their are no health-related dangers associated with fracking, and how dismissive the powers-that-be have been when I’ve repeatedly voiced my concerns. They talk to me in a condescending way, as if I’m a naïve child who “means well” but is misinformed.

They forget that I am highly-educated (I have two graduate degrees from a well-known university) and know how to conduct research. They don’t realize that I cannot be bought. I refuse to rationalize their actions and convince myself that what they’re doing is OK when I know firsthand that they are seriously harming communities. As strange as it sounds, my situation is such that I don’t have the authority to order the drilling to stop, at least not directly.

A few months ago, I visited some sites where fracking is taking place. I was nervous about doing this because I knew that everything I had read would suddenly become real for me. I knew that I would no longer be able to compartmentalize the financial aspect of my life. After several hours around the pollution, I struggled to breathe deeply because of the toxic fumes. My voice was sore the next day.

I can’t imagine how much worse it is to live near a fracking site, but then again, I don’t have to imagine it: I can listen to the reports of those who are right there. It’s absolutely horrible. No amount of money is worth subjecting children to such suffering. Don’t let the industry trick you into thinking that this is a “safe” technology. It’s not.

So what do I do with the fracking money? I channel it to organizations that are working to fight poverty, homelessness … and fracking. Yes, that’s right. “Income” generated by fracking is being redirected into efforts to halt the industry’s destructive activities.

While I might not be able to order the companies to stop drilling all by myself, I can take their profits and put the money back into causes that advocate for those who are harmed by the industry. I can only pray that we’ll reach a point where no child will have to endure leukemia or even nosebleeds in exchange for a supposedly “thriving” live-and-let-die economy.

This reminds me of “The Box,” a movie I watched where one person receives a box. If they open the box and push the button therein, they will receive $1 million dollars and someone will die. Only, with mineral ownership, you aren’t always given such a clear choice. Sometimes you aren’t given any choice at all.

I think there are a lot more people like this out there. I KNOW there are because they contact me.

 

DollarControl

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The fracking industry is waging a “shock and awe” attack on residents of Denton, Texas. After a decade of being bullied by an industry that refuses to follow any rules, residents are saying, “We’ve had enough” and seek to ban fracking in the city limits. The ban initiative goes before the city council on Tuesday where they can either adopt it as an ordinance or include it on the November ballot.

The City Council meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 215 E. McKinney St.

See special procedures HERE.

The industry has showered Texans, even those who don’t live in Denton or have mineral holdings there, with more misleading propaganda than I can count. See: Scam Alert… for a post with updated examples of letters sent to mineral owners. Today, Breitling Energy has a full page color ad in the Denton Record Chronicle. Breitling CEO, Chris Faulkner, who lives in Irving nowhere near fracking, recently invited Denton residents to “…fall on their swords for fracking.”

Texas Railroad Commissioner, Barry Smitherman, suggests in a letter that could be an audition for a job with The Onion, that Russia is financing the Denton ban effort. We know Smitherman is looking for a job. Texas voters recognized him for the utter failure he is and rejected his bid for promotion to Texas Attorney General. Since I am the one and only person involved in the 100% grassroots effort in Denton who works for an environmental organization, Smitherman must be pointing the finger at me. I have receive no money from Russia but, if I do, the vodka is on me. NOTE: See Denton Councilman Roden’s response to Smitherman.

Last week, and oil lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute even claimed democracy is irresponsible.

Oil lobby VP: ‘Irresponsible’ to deal with fracking at ballot box
The Hill, 7/10/14

Rather than admit the horrible impacts residents face from fracking and investing in improvements that might decrease opposition, the industry would rather recycle the same old psyops techniques that have failed.

All this propaganda and rhetoric is designed to have masses of industry friendly people show up at the council meeting and overwhelm Denton residents. Few of these people will carry voter registration cards that allow them to vote in Denton.

Undoubtedly, the craziest attack of all are the “paid protesters” who are lying to residents to get their signature on a petition of dubious origin.

Petition seeks fracking support
Denton Record Chronicle, July 3, 2014
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

The woman told Swann she was being paid $2 for each signature. The name of the company on her paycheck was “Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Economy.”

No entity with that name is registered with the Texas Ethics Commission. The only entities that have filed campaign finance paperwork with the Denton city secretary are “Pass the Ban,” which supports the frack ban, and “Denton First,” which supports a recently filed petition to change the liquor laws.

John Hatch, whose firm, Texas Petition Strategies, helped Denton First, said that it’s possible a national firm is involved with the latest petition.

Saturday, while enjoying the Denton Community Market, I spied a couple of the petition circulators and was able to get one of them lying to me on video. Notice that he starts off by implying his petition will  “put some kind of bans” on fracking. Then he claims their “regulations” would keep fracking “outside city limits” which is exactly what the FrackFreeDenton petition is about. This guy clearly doesn’t know anything about fracking or Denton but he does know he needs my signature on that page to get paid. He has a strong finish by suggesting the “Unconstitutional Takings” mentioned in the petition is to prevent the City of Denton from using eminent domain to forcibly take people’s homes for fracking, something the city has NEVER done.

This man was not as skilled at lying as the man Cathy McMullen encountered. Here is her first person account and a picture she took

PetitionThugThis man approached me outside the Mary Horn tax assessor office and asked me to sign a petition to regulate fracking in Denton. He stated there is currently no fracking allowed in Denton but the city council was going to vote to allow it during their 7/15 meeting. He states since the city was going to start allowing fracking and I needed to sign petition to make the city regulate it.

[...]

This man approached a woman who did not speak English and asked her to sign the petition. When she told him she did not speak English he told her it was OK for her to sign anyway. She refused.

The man stated he was from Colorado because I had a shirt on from Telluride. When I asked him why he was circulating a petition in Denton he said because he was getting paid.

The man stated I did not need to be a registered voter but need to live in Denton. When I told him I was not comfortable signing the petition he walked away and approached 2 women who signed the petition thinking it was for a ban on fracking in Denton.

This is but a small example of the harassment and lies the citizen of Denton will face if you do not vote to approve the ban and on fracking on 7/15. Please just vote to approve the ban and then get on with running a city we can be proud of.

If you signed this petition and feel it was misrepresented to you, please contact the City Council members:

jim.engelbrecht@cityofdenton.com
greg.johnson@cityofdenton.com

Also please contact the Denton Record Chronicle, pheinkel-wolfe@dentonrc.com or 940-566-6881

Investigations by the Denton Record Chronicle have turned up addition information about the petition origins and the substantial pay raise recently given to the circulators. See:

Issue may pack City Hall
Denton Record Chronicle, July 13, 2014
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe

Some well-meaning people still do not understand the situation in Denton. Regulating fracking is not an option because of the way the permitting was done prior the 2011. The permits were issued by plats that could include several hundred acres. These platted areas are not subject to any of the city’s new ordinances.

See a copy of the bogus petition HERE.

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Oilfield worker critical after abandoned well explodes in Robertson County

July 10, 2014

Robinson Robertson County aka Booger County. From KTBX Bryan/College Station. The injured young man is 25-years-old and has burns on his head and neck. An updated report says he is in critical condition. I’m betting we never find out what happened and I’m also betting that well was leaking. An oil field worker was airlifted […]

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Stuck on Stupid: Fracking industry’s “new” public relations strategy

July 10, 2014

The American Petroleum Institute has new guidelines for how to be better neighbors and corporate citizens. In issuing the “community engagement guidelines,” API seems to be tacitly acknowledging that oil and gas companies were slow to respond to mounting grassroots concerns about hydraulic fracturing and sending a message that the industry needs to do more […]

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UPDATED: SCAM ALERT: Texas mineral owners receive letter from Texas Royalty Council

July 8, 2014

I had to update this because the lies are getting bigger and BIGGER. See below. The Texas Royalty Council sent a misleading letter to royalty owners urging them to oppose the Denton fracking ban. The letter is titled Mineral Owner WARNING and it states that mineral owner income is at risk. A mineral owner in […]

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SOS sent from Karnes County in the Eagle Ford Shale

July 3, 2014

This are photos of a flare from Marathon Oil Company’s East Sugarloaf facility in Karnes County taken by a resident. East Sugarloaf started today at 2:30 with this awful pollution and I have picture documentation.  I also called TCEQ but got a recording but entered it in prior to the recording time ending.  Wind direction […]

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Paid AstroTurf group circulating petition to support fracking in Denton

July 3, 2014

AstroTurf – refers to apparently grassroots-based citizen groups or coalitions that are primarily conceived, created and/or funded by corporations, industry trade associations, political interests or public relations firms. The Rumor Someone in the Denton DAG group received a “strange anonymous phone call” from a person claiming to support us/FrackFreeDenton. This person said a man named […]

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Photo: Pioneer Natural Resources dirty flares in Eagle Ford Shale

June 28, 2014

This is such a common sight in the Eagle Ford Shale that people are almost immune it. These dirty flares were seen on CR 119 just north of Yorktown. And here is the sign that shows they are Pioneer flares. Nice cornfield but I’ll pass on eating any.

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