Al Jazeera America
June 18, 2015
Moments before Adam Briggle was arrested in early June along with other protesters for blocking the entrance to a fracking site in Denton, Texas, police Sgt. Scott Jenkins approached him with a smile. “He shook my hand and thanked me for my years of service to Denton,” Briggle recalled. “I thanked him as well. And then they put me in cuffs.”
In Denton’s fight against fracking, Briggle, a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas, became an unlikely advocate in the fight for community control over corporate interests. “I hadn’t even heard of fracking until I moved to Denton,” he said. Alarmed, however, by oil industry plans to put fracking wells close to schools, playgrounds and parks, he and other concerned citizens spent the previous four years organizing a grass-roots campaign to get an anti-fracking provision on the city ballot. In November 2014, despite being outspent 10 to 1 by energy and oil company lobbies, local anti-fracking advocates won big when Denton residents voted overwhelmingly for a citywide fracking ban, the first of its kind in Texas and one of the first nationwide.