A landslide vote in Denton, Texas, on November 4, 2014, aimed to protect neighborhoods from invasive and toxic effects of hydraulic fracturing. The initiative was never enforced. Speedy action to overturn the ban was taken in the form of lawsuits filed, before all votes had even been counted. And then House Bill 40, approved by Texas lawmakers and signed by Governor Greg Abbott in May 2015, gave state government exclusive jurisdiction over the oil and gas industry.
Adam Briggle has written a book that tells the story of fracking in Denton; it’s called A Field Philosopher’s Guide to Fracking. Briggle is a member of the Denton Drilling Awareness Group. He is also an associate professor of philosophy at the University of North Texas, and he was there when protesters tried to stop hydraulic fracturing in Denton by standing or sitting in the path of oilfield workers trying to get to a job site in June.
Police officers were a big part of what happened on that recent summer day, when fracking protesters managed to sneak behind police barriers and make a human blockade. They brought along a particle board that was 6 feet wide, and the Denton ordinance was painted on it. Their plan was to affix the giant board to the fence and make it necessary to literally destroy the board along with the democratic vote in order to commence with hydraulic fracturing.
The perseverance of the protestors at least resulted in a good photo op. Police were respectful. One was quoted as saying, “Go ahead and take your pictures.”
Ultimately there were 20 protesters on the site. They held banners and spontaneously broke out with chants. Police officers gave warning after warning. Finally, the protesters were handcuffed and placed in custody of the city jail, as oil industry workers in large trucks were lined up outside the blocked entrance, waiting to begin their work.
There was a sense of futility as the group languished in the jail, after the singing died down.
“People gonna rise like the water
Gonna slow this chaos down.
I hear the voice of my great granddaughter
Sayin’ stop this fracking now.”
See the resource article at Salon.com.