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Documentary Preview Chronicling Denton's Fracking Fight Released as Republicans Target Frack Bans

Monday, May 11, 2015 By Garrett Graham and Candice Bernd, Don't Frack With Denton | Video
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(Movie Poster: Jared Rodriguez)(Movie Poster: Jared Rodriguez) Also see: Republicans Aim to Preempt Local Democracy, Target Fracking Bans

Also see: Since the City of Denton Banned Fracking, Texas GOP Moves to Preempt Local Control

Also see: Why There's a Real Chance My Texas Town Might Ban Fracking

Denton, Texas - As House Bill 40, a bill that make Denton's fracking ban unenforceable, is set to be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott - possibly as early as today - Garrett Graham and his partner, Truthout's Assistant Editor and Reporter Candice Bernd, have released a preview cut of their forthcoming documentary film, Don't Frack With Denton, and have vowed to continue documenting the struggle to come.

The forthcoming feature-length documentary, Don't Frack With Denton tells the empowering story of how Denton became the first city in Texas to ban fracking deep in the heart of the oil and gas empire. The opening chapter of this ongoing story can be watched online here.

The new 20-minute cut, which premiered at the University of North Texas on May 8, showcases how the tenacious Texas town of Denton managed to upstage the oil and gas industry with the power of music and community organizing, winning a landslide electoral victory last November in which 59 percent of Dentonites voted to ban fracking within city limits.

The first half of the film introduces the grassroots activists who managed to use sock puppets and ukulele's to defeat the industry's millions in purchased advertising. The activists' victory is historic, as the town of Denton sits on the very same underground shale formation where the technique of fracking was pioneered in the 1990s, and in a region where the oil and gas industry holds unrivaled political and economic power.

That's why the fight to defend Texas' first fracking ban isn't over. After residents worked for more than five years to deliver an unparalleled blow to oil and gas interests, Dentonites continue to fight an uphill battle against a predictable backlash from conservative lawmakers and the oil and gas industry.

Since the ban passed last fall, state lawmakers connected to the industry and to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead.

Texas legislators, in lock-step with the oil and gas industry despite the continued protests of their own constituents, approved legislation which makes Denton's fracking ban unenforceable and preempts local communities' ability to regulate oil and gas operations within their city limits.

House Bill 40, which is set to be signed into law soon by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, eviscerates more than 150 years of Texas' proudly-held tradition of local control, preempting municipalities' authority to regulate oil and gas industry operations within city limits.

Without local control, municipalities can no longer regulate oil and gas operations directly, and are forced to rely on state regulators such as the Texas Railroad Commission - a captured agency which stood by as oil and gas companies erected drilling rigs as close as 200-feet from homes in Denton.

The film's director, Garrett Graham, and co-writer/producer Candice Bernd, are just beginning production on the second phase of the Don't Frack With Denton project, which follows Denton city officials and grassroots activists as they fight to defend their community at the Texas Capitol in Austin, and in their own backyards.

The second phase of the project will conclude with the production of a feature-length film examining this movement's evolving strategies and challenges on the ground in Denton as well as the systemic failure of democratic institutions in Texas.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Candice Bernd

Candice Bernd is an editor/staff reporter at Truthout, and a contributor to Truthout's anthology on police violence, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? With her partner, she wrote and produced Don't Frack With Denton, a documentary chronicling how their hometown became the first city to ban fracking in Texas, and its subsequent overturn in the state legislature. She received the Dallas Peace and Justice Center's "Media Accountability of the Year" award in December. Follow her on Twitter: @CandiceBernd.

Garrett Graham

Garrett Graham is a documentary filmmkaer based in Denton, Texas. He is currently directing Don't Frack With Denton, a documentary chronicling how his hometown became the first city to ban fracking in Texas.

His previous documentary, Blockadia Rising: Voices of the Tar Sands Blockade, features exclusive footage shot by activists during the course of six months of sustained resistance against the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Follow him on Twitter @GarrettGraham1.

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Documentary Preview Chronicling Denton's Fracking Fight Released as Republicans Target Frack Bans

Monday, May 11, 2015 By Garrett Graham and Candice Bernd, Don't Frack With Denton | Video
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

(Movie Poster: Jared Rodriguez)(Movie Poster: Jared Rodriguez) Also see: Republicans Aim to Preempt Local Democracy, Target Fracking Bans

Also see: Since the City of Denton Banned Fracking, Texas GOP Moves to Preempt Local Control

Also see: Why There's a Real Chance My Texas Town Might Ban Fracking

Denton, Texas - As House Bill 40, a bill that make Denton's fracking ban unenforceable, is set to be signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott - possibly as early as today - Garrett Graham and his partner, Truthout's Assistant Editor and Reporter Candice Bernd, have released a preview cut of their forthcoming documentary film, Don't Frack With Denton, and have vowed to continue documenting the struggle to come.

The forthcoming feature-length documentary, Don't Frack With Denton tells the empowering story of how Denton became the first city in Texas to ban fracking deep in the heart of the oil and gas empire. The opening chapter of this ongoing story can be watched online here.

The new 20-minute cut, which premiered at the University of North Texas on May 8, showcases how the tenacious Texas town of Denton managed to upstage the oil and gas industry with the power of music and community organizing, winning a landslide electoral victory last November in which 59 percent of Dentonites voted to ban fracking within city limits.

The first half of the film introduces the grassroots activists who managed to use sock puppets and ukulele's to defeat the industry's millions in purchased advertising. The activists' victory is historic, as the town of Denton sits on the very same underground shale formation where the technique of fracking was pioneered in the 1990s, and in a region where the oil and gas industry holds unrivaled political and economic power.

That's why the fight to defend Texas' first fracking ban isn't over. After residents worked for more than five years to deliver an unparalleled blow to oil and gas interests, Dentonites continue to fight an uphill battle against a predictable backlash from conservative lawmakers and the oil and gas industry.

Since the ban passed last fall, state lawmakers connected to the industry and to the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council have introduced a number of bills aimed at undermining local democracy, ostensibly to prevent other cities from following Denton's lead.

Texas legislators, in lock-step with the oil and gas industry despite the continued protests of their own constituents, approved legislation which makes Denton's fracking ban unenforceable and preempts local communities' ability to regulate oil and gas operations within their city limits.

House Bill 40, which is set to be signed into law soon by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, eviscerates more than 150 years of Texas' proudly-held tradition of local control, preempting municipalities' authority to regulate oil and gas industry operations within city limits.

Without local control, municipalities can no longer regulate oil and gas operations directly, and are forced to rely on state regulators such as the Texas Railroad Commission - a captured agency which stood by as oil and gas companies erected drilling rigs as close as 200-feet from homes in Denton.

The film's director, Garrett Graham, and co-writer/producer Candice Bernd, are just beginning production on the second phase of the Don't Frack With Denton project, which follows Denton city officials and grassroots activists as they fight to defend their community at the Texas Capitol in Austin, and in their own backyards.

The second phase of the project will conclude with the production of a feature-length film examining this movement's evolving strategies and challenges on the ground in Denton as well as the systemic failure of democratic institutions in Texas.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Candice Bernd

Candice Bernd is an editor/staff reporter at Truthout, and a contributor to Truthout's anthology on police violence, Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? With her partner, she wrote and produced Don't Frack With Denton, a documentary chronicling how their hometown became the first city to ban fracking in Texas, and its subsequent overturn in the state legislature. She received the Dallas Peace and Justice Center's "Media Accountability of the Year" award in December. Follow her on Twitter: @CandiceBernd.

Garrett Graham

Garrett Graham is a documentary filmmkaer based in Denton, Texas. He is currently directing Don't Frack With Denton, a documentary chronicling how his hometown became the first city to ban fracking in Texas.

His previous documentary, Blockadia Rising: Voices of the Tar Sands Blockade, features exclusive footage shot by activists during the course of six months of sustained resistance against the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas. Follow him on Twitter @GarrettGraham1.