DENTON — At Maile Bush's Denton home, toys sit ignored in the backyard. Some toys — like her son's brand-new scooter — haven't even been taken out of the box.
It's the new reality for Bush's family, since fracking started in her neighborhood last year.
"We’ve not been letting them play outside as much," she said. "When the active fracking was going on — which was about six weeks — they didn’t go outside at all."
Bush is convinced that air contamination is making her son's asthma worse. She's one of hundreds of citizens pushing an all-out fracking ban in the City of Denton.
On Wednesday, a group called Frack Free Denton took those efforts to the next level, presenting nearly 2,000 signatures supporting the ban to the city secretary. Once the signatures are verified, the proposed ban will go to the City Council. They then have 60 days to make a decision on it
If they reject the ban, it will be presented to voters on the November 4 ballot.
Less than 24 hours earlier, in a surprise decision to many, the Denton City Council voted to suspend all new fracking projects until September. Any previous fracking sites and projects can continue; the moratorium is only for new projects.
But Denton Mayor Mark Burroughs says that decision was made only because the contract with Eagle Ridge, the city's main driller, expired at midnight without a resolution. Eagle Ridge did not return our calls for comment.
"I really wish we could have come to a voluntary comprehensive agreement with Eagle Ridge," Burroughs said. We're told that company has more than 200 well sites in the city.
"I don’t think anyone knows right now what the harm is going to be long-term," Maile Bush told News 8. That's why she's keeping her kids inside, hoping a fracking ban will let them go back to the life they loved before the drilling rigs moved in.