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This Is Uncomfortable

Episode 19: Instrument of sabotage

Oct 17, 2019

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Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Denton, Texas debates a fracking ban

Scott Tong Oct 24, 2014
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Part of the reason for the recent tumble in oil prices is the surge in production in the U.S.  namely, natural gas.

The process to extract it  fracking  is not universally popular. A referendum on the upcoming ballot deep in the heart of Texas, in a town called Denton, would ban fracking. 

Marketplace’s Scott Tong has been reporting from Denton this week. 

“Drilling proximity to people’s homes is the issue,” Tong said 

But how Denton residents feel about that drilling hinges on whether or not they own the mineral rights for their land. Those who do are collecting tidy sums from oil companies, who pay for leases to drill there. Those who don’t see long days of loud activity 80 yards away, with little compensation.

Proponents of fracking are worried that a ban in Denton, only affecting 100,000 or so people, would invite copycats throughout the state of Texas. Likewise, other countries with significant shale formations are watching to see the health research and policy reactions that come out of Texas’s fracking boom. 

Residents who oppose fracking are vocal, speaking frequently with reporters. They’re worried about unintended consequences: loud noise, pollution, and trucks moving in and out, diminishing the quality of life. The supporters have pored big money into opposing the referendum through ads and advocacy, but rarely put faces to those views. 

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