Texas

Frack Free Denton Wastes More Taxpayer Money, Celebrates with Tacos

Three members of Frack Free Denton got themselves intentionally arrested outside of a natural gas well site in Denton on Monday, in an act that the group’s president compared to the civil disobedience of Martin Luther King, Jr. “How could I sleep at night or look my children in the eyes if I was not here today to mark, with my body as well as my words, this injustice?” wrote Adam Briggle on his Facebook page.

Then they all smiled for the cameras and got tacos.

After the three activists were released from jail, Amber Briggle – who recently lost a race for a seat on the city council in a landslide – published a photo of the activists all grinning on Facebook.

“They’ve been released on their own personal recognizance (because they’re good people),” Ms. Briggle wrote. “Court date has yet to be set. Now let’s get some tacos!!”

But taxpayers in Denton are not smiling.

In an editorial, the Denton Record-Chronicle criticized the activists for wasting public resources:

Their time, energy and money could have been spent in other, more productive ways, and taxpayer dollars expended during the short-lived protest could have certainly been put to better use.

Recently released numbers also suggest that the city’s various bans on drilling – through a drilling moratorium and the fracking ban – have cost the city more than $1 million. That’s about ten times what Frack Free Denton had promised a ban would cost before the election, when the activists called it “fearmongering” to suggest a drilling ban would result in high costs for taxpayers.

Earlier this year, Denton City Attorney Anita Burgess told the Texas legislature that, had voters known the full cost of a fracking ban, it would have had a “chilling effect” on the election outcome in November.

The full cost of the ban is no longer lost on the Denton City Council, either. Later today, council members will consider whether to repeal the ban, which is illegal under state law and could drag the city into a lengthy and expensive court battle.

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