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Even Dallas Hates Fracking

Even Dallas Hates Fracking

Dallas may be in the heart of oil country, but it appears that even those from hardcore oil money don’t want to be able to set their drinking water on fire; the city council voted last week to ban fracking within “1,500 feet of a home, school, church, or well.” Opponents promptly complained that this effectively banned fracking within the entire city. Well, yes. That was kind of the point.

Dallas Cothrum, a representative of an oil and gas company, outlined the “problem” in a statement to the media: “You just can’t drill under these conditions.  It’d require more than 250-acres of property and in an urban area it’s just not possible.” The decision in Dallas (the city, not the man) follows in the footsteps of a number of U.S. cities and counties that either have passed or are strongly considering fracking bans within their limits for the health and safety of residents, in response to mounting evidence that fracking is hazardous for human health. That marks a rapid reversal of the very recent warning that fracking was likely to pop up more and more in urban and suburban areas.

What’s happening here? It would appear that a growing tide of sentiment against fracking is finally having a political effect, as communities band together to oppose fracking, promote bans and restrictions on oil and gas restrictions, and fight oil companies in their backyards. Part of this may be attributable to the infamous NIMBY (not in my backyard) phenomenon, where people tend to be more up in arms about things that harm them directly; fracking isn’t just potentially hazardous, it’s also unsightly, noisy and intrusive.

But it would be a mistake to blame this entirely on self-interested residents. People are clearly concerned about studies on fracking and its relationship to water quality, earthquakes and other environmental issues. The case for caring about fracking, and taking action about it, is growing, and thus, it’s possible to see a city council in the heart of Texas taking steps to protect its citizens from a potential threat, despite the huge pressures of the oil and gas industry. Dallas residents know that the bulk of the wealth and power in their city comes from oil and gas, with fracking a natural extension of the earlier industry thanks to the strain on existing reserves and the need to look deeper for more extraction options.

Clearly, those residents aren’t ready to put their lives at risk for oil companies, even if it potentially means sacrificing their own economy. Oil companies threaten that not being able to drill in urban areas will lead to declines in profits, job losses and resource scarcity, but whether or not these claims are true, residents aren’t ready to take chances with their health and that of their children.

The new restrictions on fracking, if they hold, will make Dallas one among a growing list of no fracking zones in the United States, and the very fact that it’s Dallas may make other cities bold when it comes to following suit. That makes this a particularly strong victory for groups concerned about the health and safety risks of fracking.

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Photo credit: David Herrera.

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2:52PM PST on Dec 29, 2013

Fracking has no business anywhere. Many states are in the middle of water shortages. The frackers want to use millions and fill it with chemicals and pump into the ground to spoil what water is left in the ground and contaminating the ground itself. More communities and states need to stand up against the deadly fracking.

4:49AM PST on Dec 26, 2013

they love Oil instead.

3:09AM PST on Dec 26, 2013

Meanwhile in Australia,despite widespread complaints and protests from communities throughout the country,both federal and state governments are aiding and abetting the increase in "fracking"despite the potential risk to the very finite underground water supplies,on which so many country communities depend!As Australia is the driest continent on Earth,this agenda is clearly insanity or maybe an agenda to drive people out of the country areas,so that those areas can be completely dug up for mineral resources!?Whole communities have already disappeared thanks to huge open cut coal mining,and the way people,their lives and property values are being sacrificed for royalties,is absolutely disgusting!Many Aussies are truly in despair and have resorted to direct action.Thank God for "The Lock the Gate Alliance"!!!The only politicians who are standing up for the people are the Greens and some Independents.The behaviour of both the Labor and Liberal Parties on this issue,is SHAMEFUL!!!

1:14PM PST on Dec 25, 2013

these big new oil pipelines all seem to be for moving all there oil and gas
to the coast for shipping china etc not for home use
so you in USA will still need to buy in your oil and gas /

fracking co will not tell anyone what they are using in drilling
mud etc so its no wonder that so many people are not happy to live near by
fracking wells

5:03AM PST on Dec 25, 2013


8:02PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

It’s far more likely that your son or grandchildren will die in a worthless, un-solvable war in the middle East over energy, then a single glass of water being contaminated by Fracking.

8:01PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

BO says, “No need for energy independence, we should stop Keystone oil pipeline” so we can send billions more to the folks in Dubai where women are jailed for being raped.

7:59PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

I just got back from Missouri where they had regular gas for $2.68 gal. in spite of the Con man in chief Quote, “Under my plan,…. electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” unquote. Thanks again for fracking.

6:18PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Fracking is so deleterious to the environment that it should not be allowed anywhere. This is being foisted onto people just as the corporations are trying to force the pipeline from Canada. Both concepts are bad, bad, bad.

4:10PM PST on Dec 24, 2013

Not being allowed to drill in urban areas might put a dent in oil companies' profits?? Oh, those poor babies! Don't the masses know that they are supposed to roll over and sacrifice their health and their very lives on the alter of blind corporate greed for the benefit of a few?

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