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Denton Fracking Referendum Collection

Identifier: AR0861

  • Staff Only
  • No requestable containers

Scope and Contents

This is an artificial collection created by UNT Special Collections. This collection covers events and activism leading up to Denton's November 2014 vote to ban hydraulic fracturing, otherwise known as "fracking." UNT Special Collections collected the materials to document the significant political debate and subsequent vote that resulted in Denton becoming the first Texas city to ban fracking. Series 1 offers physical examples of posters, bulletins, and newsletters from created by groups on both sides of the issue. Series 2 is composed of born digital audio files of oral histories conducted by students in Dr. Priscilla S. Ybarra's English 4650 class in Fall 2015. Transcripts of these oral histories, in a born digital text format, were created by UNT Special Collections staff. Series 3 provides links to news articles and opinions written in regard to the ban that were captured in a web crawl by UNT Libraries in Fall 2015. Series 2 and 3 link to digital resources available in the UNT Digital Library.


  • Creation: 2010-2017
  • Acquisition: Date acquired: 05/00/2015


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is not restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction and publication of materials in this collection are subject to the policies of the UNT Special Collections department. Copyright restrictions may apply.

Biographical or Historical Information

While the ban itself was short lived, the grassroots movement, anti-fracking activists, and the oil and gas industry are still an ever-present force in the Denton community. University of North Texas professor Dr. Adam Briggle played an integral role in organizing and mobilizing anti-fracking voters during the events of 2014 and, as of 2017, still advocates against hydraulic fracturing. The fracking ban quickly became a divisive subject in the Denton community. Fracking is defined as a process in which shale gas is extracted by pumping heavily pressurized water into small drill channels to fracture the surrounding rock. With nearly 300 gas wells-some near playgrounds, hospitals, and occupied neighborhoods-many citizens became concerned by the environmental and health-related impacts of hydraulic fracturing. Groups opposing the ban argued that fracking is a multibillion dollar industry and not only violates property owners' rights but hypothesized that the ban would only serve to strengthen oil and gas industries in foreign countries. On November 4, 2014, Dentonites voted and made history. Overwhelmingly 58% of the population voted in favor of the bill and Denton became the first city in Texas to ban fracking. However, not even twelve hours later two lawsuits were filed against the City of Denton by the Texas Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association to repeal the ban. In May of 2015, Texas Governor Greg Abbot signed House Bill 40 (HB40) which gives exclusive jurisdiction over the oil and gas industry to the state and effectively prohibits any ordinance/initiative/regulation banning hydraulic fracturing by individual cities. On June 17, 2015, the City of Denton was forced to repeal the fracking ban as per HB40. The Texas General Land Office, one of the groups involved in suing the City of Denton after the ban, is one of the oldest operating state agency in Texas. Their primary role is managing state lands and "maximizing state revenue through the prudent stewardship of state lands and natural resources" (The Texas General Land Office). The Texas Oil and Gas Association boasts approximately 5,000 members, both independent and major producers, and serves to represent petroleum interests in the state (TXOGA).

Note written by


1.00 boxes

Language of Materials



This collection contains web-based articles, born digital audio files of oral histories, born digital transcripts, and physical ephemera related to the Denton Fracking Ban. Correspondence, posters, newsletters, and bulletins are also included.

Arrangement Note

The physical materials in Series 1 of this collection are foldered according to political stance on the Denton Fracking Ban and material type. Note that Series 2 and 3 consist solely of web-based materials available in the UNT Digital Library.

Physical Access Requirements

This collection is stored off-site and requires a minimum of 24 hours notice prior to use.

Technical Access Requirements

Researchers may locate the digital contents of this collection in The Portal to Texas History.

Source of Acquisition

UNT Libraries web crawl, Dr. Priscilla Ybarra, Erin O'Toole

Method of Acquisition


Accruals and Additions

2015-026, 2016-021

Denton Fracking Referendum Collection
H. LaRock and Dayna Greene
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of North Texas Special Collections Repository

University of North Texas, Willis Library
1155 Union Circle # 305190
Denton TX 76203 US