DENTON, Texas -
After a Tuesday night city council meeting, the City of Denton inched a little closer to becoming the first city in Texas to ban energy exploration in city limits.
Fracking opponents in Denton spoke first by signing their name on a petition, which was discussed at Tuesday's meeting, and they'll soon have a microphone and the city council as an audience.
If the council doesn’t ban fracking outright, then voters could in November. Regardless, Tuesday night’s move for a public hearing on July 15 is a symbolic step.
“We've actually gotten a lot of people on Facebook and Twitter from around the world sending us notes of solidarity and congratulations,” said Adam Briggle with Denton Drilling Awareness Group.
The group got almost 2,000 signatures on a petition requesting the city ban fracking. It only needed 610.
Many of those who signed the petition will be present to speak at the public hearing on July 15.
“We expect that we can get a lot of folks to show up and ask council to approve this ordinance,” said Briggle.
Residents who live in new houses off of Vintage Boulevard complain the Eagle Ridge energy wells nearby create health issues.
Based on the anti-fracking group's efforts, in May, the city council surprised many by passing a temporary suspension on new drilling sites and permits until September.
“It's very rare to have a fully citizen-led petition drive like this has been,” said Lindsey Baker, spokeswoman for the City of Denton. “It's been interesting to watch the process. We have a group of very passionate residents and citizens here in Denton, and they have something they want to pursue and that's exactly what they've done.”
The Denton Drilling Awareness Group has requested moratoriums since 2010 based on alleged ordinance violations, but never got one.
The group hopes the council will adopt its proposed ban, and if not, let the voters decide.
“I think the city council could save us all a lot of trouble and expense by doing the right thing, which is protecting the health and welfare and wellbeing of the Denton citizens and adopt the ban,” said Rhonda Love with Denton Drilling Awareness Group.
None of the council members have spoken to FOX 4 about their views on the petition and proposed ban, as they’ve been in meetings when we’ve requested interviews.
They have 60 days to give final consideration to this initiative.
KDFW FOX 4 400 N. Griffin Street Dallas, Texas 75202
Main Station Directory: (214) 720-4444 News Fax: (214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333