This is a very busy time for me with early voting in Denton. The “Responsible Drilling” hired guns at the polls are misleading voters about how to vote so they must be constantly watched. And today has been a busy day for some rather bad news for fracking. I’m popping in there with some random thoughts about today’s news.

First up:

New Report: FRACKING’S TOXIC LOOPHOLE: Thanks to the “Halliburton Loophole,” Hydraulic Fracturing Companies Are Injecting Chemicals More Toxic than Diesel

Using information from FracFocus, the Environmental Integrity Project found that the fracking industry is using chemicals with 10 to 50 times more benzene than diesel. Remember that only 1/4 teaspoon of benzene will contaminate an olympic sized pool of water. One example from Texas:

Between August 22 and 28, 2014, Blackbrush O&G, LLC, injected nearly 150,000 gallons of base fluid containing up to 9% benzene – or 14,300 gallons –into a well in Dimmit County, Texas. That is as much benzene as contained in 14.3 million gallons of diesel fluid with a maximum concentration of 0.1% benzene.

Next, we could have done something earlier but we pretended there was a debate and waited three years:

Energy Department: U.S. must act now on methane emissions

This is the same Energy Department whose leader, Dr. Chu, proclaimed the Howarth/Ingraffea study as not credible. Seems Chu was wrong and Howarth/Ingraffea were right. Too bad we wasted three years and allowed more methane to vent from the wells into the air.


We released some FLIR videos yesterday taken in and around Denton that show the emissions are a chronic problem. Important to note that natural gas is methane. So Denton is doing it’s part to speed up the climate crisis. Think about that then vote FOR the ordinance to prohibit hydraulic fracturing in the city limits of Denton.

Industry likes to claim that FLIR videos only show hot air. Are we supposed to believe that industry, state and federal regulators are spending millions for cameras that show hot air? (rhetorical question) I made a home video that shows no hot air:

Texas received some Doctor’s orders from the top toxicologist in the state:

No running, no gardening and don’t walk your dog because you need to stay inside. No joke, Texas air is that bad.

Texas’ Top Toxicologist: EPA’s New Smog Regulations Unnecessary, Just Stay Indoors

Pièce de résistance

The last bit of news tells us that McCarthyism is alive and well in Denton, Texas. There are two video interviews of councilman Roden who busts some of the misinformation being circulated by all 2 of the “Responsible Drilling” advocates in Denton along with their buddies from industry.

Fracking is scary


If you receive results from water testing and you don’t know what it means, I can help with that.


“Our studies indicate that over time an increasing number of wells is significantly correlated with inpatient rates of hospitalization,” Penning stated.

The study has not been released yet but the results were revealed recently to a Senate Policy Committee meeting.

Ruth McDermott-Levy, associate professor and director of the Center for Global and Public Health at the Villanova University College of Nursing, has been researching health needs in communities in Pennsylvania where fracking is taking place and supports Senate Bill 790.

There is a relationship between certain air pollutants and lung cancer and heart disease, she said. The air pollution doesn’t just come from drilling sites, but from support facilities including compressor stations, dehydration stations and truck transport, she said.

Study: more gas wells in area leads to more hospitalizations link fixed

At a public forum last night, Tom Giovanetti, The not from Denton Master Debater, dissed a recent report from ShaleTest that showed benzene in Denton’s McKenna Park. He claimed that harmful effects of benzene decays in hours and hinted that the benzene could be coming from wood.

Giovanetti ignored some important information. elephantThe ShaleTest report was released with FLIR videos showing emissions of volatile organic compounds coming from the tanks and an explanation that the air sampling was taken as close as possible to the emission plume.

Condensate tanks and produced water tanks all come with a vent. The purpose of the vent is to allow volatile organic compounds to escape into the air. Each pad site is allowed to vent 25 tons of volatile organic compounds per year. But the industry is not required to meter the emissions escaping from the vents so it’s all just guesswork and honor system

The ShaleTest study is not the first time high levels of benzene have been detected in McKenna Park. During fracking and completion of the gas wells across the street benzene was detected on three different occasions.

Benzene was detected on three different days at 4.81 ppbv, 16.2 ppbv, and 55.4 ppbv, all are exceedences of the long-term ESL exposure limit (Center for Disease Control says long-term is one year) and one exceeds the short-term limit (short-term is typically 15 – 30 minutes).  LINK



The fracking industry is covering Denton in layers of slick, deceptive mailers and now they are doing more manipulative polling calls. All this is only serving to anger Denton residents.

shooting-yourself-in-the-footFrom Facebook:

Just received a very interesting survey call. The industry folks must be nervous. The caller invoked Putin and Russia, and Al-qaeda and Al Jazzera in trying to get me to try to change my mind about how I intend to vote on November 4. Misinformation and scare tactics don’t work with this lady, folks. VOTE FOR THE BAN ON THE FOURTH!!!!!!!


She also asked me if I would still vote for the ban if I knew that Obama and the democratic party were giving money to the Denton leaders that supported the ban. As if! Obama is pretty much pro-gas, so far, so that was pretty stupid!

You cannot believe, Dear Readers, the dirty tricks the opposition is pulling out of their sleaze bag. Someday soon, I hope I can share ALL those with you. Until then, carry on. These dirty tricks are a sign of desperation.

UPDATE:  Here is the latest mailer which burns with irony since high levels of benzene were detected in McKenna Park more than once. (Larger version HERE)

OppoMailer OppoMailer

Side 2 (larger version HERE)


 UPDATE 2: Just heard that donations are flowing in at in response to the latest dirty tricks.


In the beginning: Fracking in Denton

by TXsharon on October 9, 2014

in Denton

In the beginning…

Cathy McMullen evacuated Wise County because she was surrounded by fracking. She moved to Denton where she thought it would be safe.

Shortly after Cathy, I evacuated Wise County because we were surrounded by fracking. We moved to Denton where we thought we would be safe.

I didn’t know Cathy and she didn’t know me.

Range Resources put up a t-post with a ribbon on it in the field across from McKenna Park near Cathy’s new home. Anyone who has lived with fracking knows what the beribboned t-post means. You are about to get fracked!  Cathy learned that Range planned to frack five wells a few blocks from her new home.

She started rounding up neighbors to fight back. Somehow–serendipity–she rounded me up. This was before I started working for Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project.

The meetings started as a group of mothers meeting in living rooms. Mothers who didn’t want to see their children exposed to fracking harms and didn’t want to see the character of Denton ruined.

Flare_ParkRange Resources flare as viewed from McKenna Park. Photo credit: Cathy McMullen

A few times, those living room meetings included City Councilmen, Gregory Dalton or Jim Englebrecht. There were also doctors, and more doctors who stood up against drilling so close to homes, parks and medical facilities. We all became part of the Denton fracking opposition and we started speaking and making citizen presentations at City Council meetings. Gradually, the opposition grew.

In August 2009, I moved to an apartment complex across the street from Evers Park and close to my work at UNT’s Research Park. Later I rented an apartment from Denton’s new mayor, Chris Watts.

One day Cathy called to tell me that Range Resources was dumping their sewage into the field behind the drill site across the street from McKenna Park. Dumping raw sewage is a big money saver for the industry but it is illegal. Cathy and I called that sewage dumping event DoodyGate. Here’s the poop on DoodyGate. Cathy and I walked through the muck wearing sandals to capture the essence of DoodyGate on VIDEO.

In May 2011, I accepted a full-time position as Texas organizer with Earthworks’ Oil & Gas Accountability Project. I am grateful that Earthworks has allowed me time to help the Denton Community, a place I still call home, as they faced increased mistreatment by the oil and gas industry. Earthworks helps communities like Denton when we are asked. Denton asked for Earthworks’ help.

DoodyGate took place over five years ago. We are still meeting in living rooms but the conversation has changed. This website has chronicled much of what has happened in Denton the past five years. It is easy to see that industry has brought this opposition on themselves. We tried to be reasonable and responsible but they refused any limitations on their activities.

Denton will soon be the first city in Texas to vote to ban hydraulic fracturing. No matter how the election turns out,  the conversation has forever been changed. Nowhere else will the fracking industry be able to run over and abuse residents like they have in Denton. Never again.


Some additional highlights from the past.

Denton Succumbs to Greed. Range Resources to Drill 5 Wells
Denton passes Phase I of drilling ordinances 7-0

7,812 pieces of Barnett Shale pollution emitters in Denton County

Denton drilling task force
Denton public health and safety at risk from weak gas well ordinance
Report: Investigate environmental causes for breast cancer
The news about the Denton blowout is worse than you think.
Fracking executive confirms: Homeland Security thinks fracktivists are terrorists
Evacuations caused by EagleRidge gas well venting across the street from UNT Apogee Athletic Stadium
Denton voted to increase noise levels at gas well sites
Caught on video: Petition circulators deceive Denton residents

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Update: The not from Denton Master Debater

October 3, 2014

Frack Free Denton has participated in a number of forums of which some are called “debates.” Because banning fracking in the City of Denton is a local issue about local control of a damaging, heavy industrial process that has been allowed in our backyards, only local Denton residents who are members of the Frack Free […]

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Oil & Gas Toxics Detected Near Playgrounds across the Barnett Shale

September 30, 2014

Hazardous Chemicals from Oil and Gas Development Detected Near Playgrounds across the Barnett Shale Carcinogen levels violate TCEQ’s long-term ambient limits Denton, TX, – Independent air tests at five separate playgrounds across the Barnett Shale have revealed hazardous chemicals associated with oil and gas development at all five. At three of the playgrounds, carcinogens were […]

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Documentation shows air pollutants from fracking in Denton.

September 24, 2014

Have you been reading the crazy comments in the online version of the Denton paper? No matter how the opposition tries to spin things, there is documented proof of air contamination and Dentonites are being exposed to a cocktail of nasty chemicals. Read about three examples and why this is so important to health at […]

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VIDEO: Denton mineral owner testimony of fracking horrors

September 21, 2014

This is testimony given at the Denton City Council hearing for the ban on hydraulic fracturing. Patricia Andrews is a 23-year resident of Denton, Texas, a landowner and a mineral owner. She signed a lease and experienced fracking on her property. The well was not profitable and it was noisy and destructive. Forcing contractual obligations […]

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Crude oil bomb trains have little oversight in Texas

September 13, 2014

These trains are rolling right through your towns. Even Denton… The crude from shale formations is more explosive than regular crude. It might be all those highly flammable, explosive fracking chemical they pump into the formation. I’m betting that plays a roll. Anyway, is your town prepared for a catastrophe from a bomb train? Do […]

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M 2.9 earthquake in North Texas

September 11, 2014

There was a M 2.9 quake just north of Irving early this morning. There is no fracking near the epicenter but plenty just a little to the west. Event Page NBC5 news reports

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