When Governor Abbott signed House Bill 40 late last month, banning city’s bans on fracking, he took a massive hammer to civilian sovereignty and anyone who dare oppose the whims of Texas oil companies. Yesterday, with the opening of the first fracking site in Denton since the ban, Denton police arrested three peaceful protesters outside of the frack site.
Desmog blog has a great rundown, with photos, of what happened. The protesters have now been released, and Frack Free Denton has set up a fund for their legal defense. UNT professor Andrew Briggle prepared this statement ahead of his civil disobedience (they knew they would be arrested):
An act of civil disobedience requires you to distinguish just laws from unjust laws. I have read much about this and discussed Antigone, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King, Jr. with my students. But I have never acted until now, because never before has that distinction been so clear in my mind. A just law would give those exposed to the harms of fracking a meaningful voice. An unjust law would subordinate those voices to the dictates of the powerful and wealthy. HB 40 is an unjust law.
The key takeaway from the Denton fracking ban is that Texans are no longer allowed to defend themselves from the documented harms and dangers of fracking, and that’s exactly how Republicans want it. Bakeries are allowed in only some Denton zones, but fracking rigs are allowed in every one.
It’s silly and upsetting, but it’s old news. This government is pernicious and it is also boring, predictable, and stale. In Texas, there is little meaningful civil debate because the thrust of lawmakers have their opinions pre-made by their donors and the industries they’d like to move into after leaving office. See Todd Staples, former Ag Commish and current head of Texas’ largest oil lobby.