Denton Council to residents: We broke it. You fix it.


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.





About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Kim Feil says

    I was there too and was just awakened by a campaign caller for George P. Bush for Land Comissioner and was asked three questions…
    1) did I support his idea of charter schools?…yes
    2) did I support his idea to open up state owned land for oil 7 gas exploration?………..I calmly said “no” (really wanted to scream FRACK NO !)
    3) asked if I would vote for him come election day and I said not if he thinks more fossil fuels is the way to go…he’s going down the wrong road.

  2. meamous says

    Good post. Just another example of our corrupt, bought-off, and crooked gubment. No help to the peasants. So why do we have a bunch like this? Sell it off a public auction and save a bunch of tax money.

  3. Alberta Neighbor says

    Hi Sharon,

    I just wanted to drop a line in support of you all. I was able to watch the livestream of the Denton Council meeting last night and I thought the residents of Denton were fantastic and incredibly inspiring!! I was especially grateful that you all spoke english, including the council, as my russian is terribly rusty, so thanks for that.

    It was sad to watch some of the Denton Council members struggle at the end to find their courage, but I’m certain they’ll find it, eventually.

    Thank you so much to ALL of you who are standing up for your families and community, you truly are an inspiration, and Denton is fortunate to have you!


    This is one of my favorite lines from last night’s/this morning’s council meeting:

    “I’m not going to buy the argument that corporations are people, until Texas executes one of them.”

  4. Michael Leza says

    “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.”

    This guy is my old landlord, and a grade A scumbag. Once, when he had to come out and do maintenance because the sewer lines were backing up, I was in our bathroom and overheard him right outside my window talking trash about me and my roommates to his ten year old son. Typical useful idiot marching in lockstep with his masters on the right, hoping for table scraps.

  5. Tim Ruggiero says

    As I watched the show last night via live stream, I couldn’t help but notice that only two council members actually asked any questions. Okay, sometimes leading questions, but questions nonetheless. There was one or two other council members that made some comments, but those had nothing to do with the task at hand. So, what was the point of having that meeting, if the council members, mayor included, appeared to have already decided how they were going to end this? Furthermore, I don’t understand why the mayor and the other council members are ‘serving’ their community if they aren’t at least trying to learn more about what the issues are? Say what you will about Roden and even Gregory, but at least they participated and went through the motions, even if they did decide beforehand how they were going to vote.

    Maybe another petition should be started-to impeach the mayor and council members who decidedly don’t give a shit about what their constituents have to say or what really is in the community’s best interests.

  6. Another Alberta Neighbour says

    Dear Sharon,

    Your presentation last night was excellent, as were all those by the courageous, rightly concerned and opposed Denton residents, including an 11 year old young man, up way past his bedtime (his testimony was sincere, articulate and profound – the industry reps creepily pushing their non existent “solution” to the frac harms could learn a lot from him).

    Yes, Denton, the world *is* watching! I watched the live streaming in awe, knowing I was witnessing a massive transformation, in Texas no less. Citizen after citizen, not a Russian agent among them, testified that their years of hard work “at the table” with industry and regulators went nowhere. Refreshing to see so many learn that the only way to protect community and loved ones from fracing is with a ban.

    The citizens of Lethbridge said “No!” with such conviction, the company wanting to frac them, ran away, forfeiting their lease, and leaving the Alberta government and regulator spinning madly trying to get silence back – and failing.

    As devastating as Denton City Council’s vote was, it’s the doing that’s the win – a victory that’s eternal and will help people, communities and councils everywhere find and/or keep their courage to say “No!”

    Bravo people of Denton, thank you Sharon.

    Jessica Ernst
    ernst vs encana

    PS Hi Neighbor. I didn’t know you spoke Russian. Fancy that. Did the Alberta Energy Regulator regulator teach you?

  7. Brad says

    If someone could ACTUALLY show me “SCIENTIFIC” proof rather than speculation and feelings, I might be inclined to support a ban on fracking. Until then, frack away….