Denton/Fort Worth/Austin, Mar 2nd – Today dozens of citizens from fracking-threatened communities in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, College Station and San Antonio areas are getting on a bus to Austin to protect Texans’ homes and property by urging state legislators to vote down bills that threaten cities’ long standing authority to regulate oil and gas development within their boundaries.
“A man’s home is his castle, except, it seems, if the oil and gas industry wants to frack next to it,” said Lance Irwin of Mansfield. He continued, “Industry servants in the legislature seem to think our right to enjoy our homes ends when fracking operators need to pollute the air we breathe. We’re going to Austin to set them straight.”
After the success of the Denton fracking ban ballot initiative and subsequent movement by other fracking impacted communities for better local oversight, oil and gas industry friendly legislators introduced a bevy of legislation intended to remove municipalities’ ability to regulate oil and gas development and fracking within their boundaries.
“When we went to the state asking for help with fracking impacts they told us to handle it locally,” said Earthworks’ Texas Organizer Sharon Wilson. She continued, “So we put the fracking issue to Denton voters, and they handled it. Now the fracking industry’s champions have shown who they really work for by trying to overturn and eliminate local democracy.”
At least one author of the bills intended to eliminate home rule as it now applies to oil and gas development has a history of campaigning as a champion of small government. Texas citizens making the bus trip will make sure state legislators are aware of this bald hypocrisy.
“Home rule is the essence of small government”, said Tara Linn Hunter of Denton Drilling Awareness Group/Frack Free Denton. She continued, “These bills to benefit the oil and gas industry at the expense of Texas communities are big government at its worst. They’re just big money buying politicians to take away communities’ rights to govern themselves and to protect their citizens. Frankly, it makes me sick.”