In a landslide vote, a solidly Republican city that tried for years to find a way to live with fracking voted to ban it because they have learned that fracking is not compatible with a healthy city. And it’s common sense that healthy neighborhoods and a healthy city make a healthy economy.
Now you may be wondering: what’s next? Because we all know this ain’t over. Staying true to their threats and arrogant pattern of bullying communities, industry and the state filed lawsuits hoping to crush democracy. They have vowed to retaliate until Denton becomes nothing but tumbleweeds and crickets.
“The citizens of Denton, Texas have voted themselves into what will most definitely end up as the legal equivalent of a field of quicksand. The ground-rumbling they will hear won’t be earthquakes, but the stampede of lawyers running to the area to join in the plethora of lawsuits….
“The real losers here are the citizens of Denton who…. now face a future of nothing on their land but tumbleweeds and crickets.”
Chris Faulkner, the CEO of Breitling Energy
The quicksand metaphor was not a wise choice. Years ago I was riding along the beautiful Brazos River with some friends. One horse started bogging down in quicksand. The mare panicked and tried to rear on her hind legs and lunge out of the sand. Her thrashing only caused her to sink deeper. My friend never let go of the reins. She talked to the mare in a soothing voice until she became calm. When her weight was more evenly distributed the mare stopped sinking and floated on the sand until we were able to pull them both out with a rope.
In Denton we never let go of the reins. We distributed the weight evenly, talked each other through the roughest spots and if someone needed it, we threw them a rope. Quicksand doesn’t scare us.
The Denton Drilling Awareness Group is assembling a superior legal team that is already working on legal strategy to answer the lawsuits. An announcement about that will be coming soon.
In the meantime, we still have plenty of work ahead and we need every person to stay involved. Some people might say we need to “stay the course.” But having spent most of my life on a horse, I’m going to go with lyrics from a John Denver song sung by Chuck Pyle my favorite guitar pickin’ “Zen Cowboy.”
Keep her steady cowgirl
Don’t let go of the reins
You are ready now girl
Never mind the growin’ pains
We won because we are a family. We can’t compete with the industry’s money but we have people, people who will…
- build racer coffins and push and cheer the same,
- show up with their kids at porch parties and polka rallies in the park,
- gather to celebrate hanging banners, light show displays and participate in flash mobs
- knock on doors and circulate information,
- stand for hours in the blistering sun guarding the polls,
- stand for hours in the freezing rain guarding the polls,
- write letters,
- do research, make maps and build spreadsheets and data input forms,
- give their hard earned money and precious time,
- do what it takes to keep their families and their city safe.
We won because we kept it local and found a message that resonated with young and old and everyone in between.
What we do now is more of the same.
- We still need to write letters to the editor and op-eds, but we need to expand our reach to papers in all parts of Texas.
- We still need blog posts based on research.
- We must remind Phil King that he was elected on this promise “We should always trust people over big government. Local control and limited government must be the first resort not the last.” We will make it easy for you to remind him.
- We need to make sure the city knows we aren’t going away and will support them in keeping their promise to vigorously defend legal challenges to the ban.
- We need LOTS of people to visit your representative Myra Crownover in her office, by phone and letters so she can continue to support allowing the legal process to work.
- We will all need to travel to Austin. We’ll get buses and make it fun for everyone. Bring the kids!
- We need to keep highlighting all the negative impacts from fracking.
- We need to keep fundraising.
- We need you all to stay excited, engaged and to help spread our weight evenly.
Keep ‘er steady.
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.
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Dan Galbraith says
I noticed that Christi Craddick, chairwoman of the Texas Railroad Commission, is pretty much spitting in Denton’s face, not “recognizing” the ban. Excuse me?
She is just doing what her benefactors tell her to do.
Christina Jonsson says
This is a terrific letter Sharon! I think you have a winning platform for the long run. Denton is an example for the nation telling truth to power.