Another petition is just the latest tool in Denton’s fight over fracking, but this time they seem to be in favor of the drilling method.
Petitioners have been spotted in parking lots and on sidewalks throughout town since late last week trying to collect signatures on a petition labeled “a petition to protect our taxpayers and local economy,” with indicators that it is for citizens against the ban.
When NBC5 approached petitioners for more information they declined to say anymore. One referred us to a local phone number for her “boss” that went to a voicemail for “Denton Taxpayers for a Strong Local Economy,” but calls were never returned.
Our partners at the Denton Record Chronicle report that the name is not registered with the Texas Ethics Commission and we have been unable to find a website or social media for the group.
However, the mysterious petition isn’t the only sign of industry supporters coming to Denton.
Letters from the Texas Royalty Council and the Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners Association to their members and online in the past two weeks urged folks to attend the July 15 Denton City Council meeting to speak out against the perspective fracking ban.
Both called the ban an abusive taking of mineral owners’ rights and property and one even questioned the legality of such a measure.
The ban is being proposed by a local group, “The Denton Drilling Awareness Group,” who collected nearly 2,000 signatures from Denton voters asking the city council to take action.
Members cite past issues with the fracking industry, including drills going up too close to homes and unknowns about health and environmental risks associated with the drilling method.
The group has also started rallying for support at the Tuesday meeting.
Members marched with a float in the Denton Fourth of July parade and said they’ve been active in person and online helping their fellow citizens get educated on the topic.
Leader Cathy McMullen said they are expecting a big turnout at the Tuesday meeting and are glad to see their opponents mobilizing as well.
"You send people in when you're worried about something,” said McMullen. “They know we’re right.”
The city of Denton verified the citizens’ petition last month as having enough signatures to go before the council. As a result, the city council will be required to either vote in the fracking ban on Tuesday night or send it to voters on the November ballot.
Early indicators are that the measure will be sent to voters.