Since HB40 took away our right to ban fracking at the local level Texans need new ways to protect our homes and families. Now more than ever, Texans need our regulators, the Texas Railroad Commission, to rein in the oil and gas industry and protect our basic rights.
For the past year I have been travelling the country exposing otherwise invisible air pollution from fracking and fracking-related development. In 2014, Earthworks was able to buy a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) Gasfinder 320 camera thanks to the generous support of our members and donors. This camera is the gold-standard of oil and gas pollution detection. Industry and government alike use the same model camera and have the same certification I do to operate it. The camera detects methane and about 20 different volatile organic compounds that are health-harming and climate polluting.
I spent eight hours in Denton on Tuesday night at a city council hearing to consider a ban on fracking in city limits, and during that time, I saw the oil and gas industry do 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; even the Council called them out on it.
The good news is that I also saw the people of Denton, nearly 100 of them, stand up and speak for their rights to clean air, and to quiet neighborhoods, and healthy kids. The bad news is that the city council listened to the industry suits, wearing nice shoes and representing oil and gas companies and mineral rights owners intent on profiting from other people’s misery. At 3AM, the city council voted against a ban, sending the question to the ballot measure in the fall.