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Homeowners: Fracking Happening 75 Yards From Front Doors

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) - Some residents in Denton think 200 feet is too close to their homes for natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking), now they're taking their protests to city leaders.

To back up their objections residents are pointing to a city ordinance that bans gas drilling within 1,200 feet of homes.

There are several residential neighborhoods sandwiched in between two gas wells operated by EagleRidge Energy.

Cheyenne Marquez lives in the area and said since EagleRidge began fracking nearby wells she now stays inside as much as she can. Marquez doesn't want her children playing outside -- even in their own backyard.

"I do what I can to keep the kids safe unfortunately I can't say 'don't go outside,' because no matter where we go the gas fumes are everywhere."

The view from the Marquez family living room is mostly industrial. "I could throw a rock almost and hit it," Marquez said of one well. The drill site sits about 75 yards away – not even the distance of a football field.

Marquez, who is the mother of four, said her 2-year-old daughter had some health problems since the drilling started next door. "She's affected by it the most. She has a really bad immune system, but [has] headaches mainly."

Keith Woodard lives down the road from Marquez and is sandwiched between the two drill sites. "We've got one down at the end of the road here and then we have another down here," he said pointing. "It's just a big concern about how safe it is."

Woodard said there's conflicting information concerning the hazards of fracking. "One article you read from a gas company [says] it's perfectly safe, read another article from the environmental people and it's not so safe."

While an ordinance bans drilling within 1,200 feet of homes, officials with the city of Denton say EagleRidge Operating has a permit that's been grandfathered.

The city is now working with the company and looking into homeowner concerns. Residents claim to be dealing with everything from particulate pollution and chemical odors, to bright lights, loud noise and heavy equipment traffic.

Marquez said, "What used to be a nice, peaceful neighborhood has turned into Grand Central Station out there."

Dozens of homeowners are planning to attend and speak during the Citizen Reports section of the City Council meeting.

CBS 11 News wanted to speak with city officials about the concerns but was told by a spokesperson that no one is commenting at this time. Calls to EagleRidge were not returned.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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