E&E News discusses how George Floyd protests swayed a Texas fracking town.
mid the national discussion about racial injustice, the City Council rejected a plan this week to expand a natural gas well site after residents said it would have a disproportionate impact on Hispanic and black residents.
The 6-3 vote by the council — while affecting one city — was a rare defeat for the oil and gas industry and signaled the influence of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis after a police officer pressed on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The vote against the gas site in the birthplace of the fracking boom came less than an hour after an emotional discussion about Floyd’s death and the need to reform the city’s law enforcement and other services.
“I think people understand at this point in time we are not just talking about police brutality, we are talking about inequities across the system,” Ranjana Bhandari, an organizer with the environmental group Liveable Arlington, said after the decision.
Natural gas producers started using fracking, formally known as hydraulic fracturing, to squeeze gas out of the Barnett Shale field in North Texas in the late 1990s. By the mid-2000s, the drilling boom had extended into urban neighborhoods in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.