'Frack' protest signs draw complaints

April 6, 2011 at 6:01 PM

SOUTHLAKE, Texas, April 6 (UPI) -- The mayor of a Texas city says people are complaining to City Hall about signs that pun the drilling term "fracking" as a substitute for profanity.

Southlake Mayor John Terrell said Town Hall has received numerous complaints about the signs, which bear messages such as "Get the frack out of here" and "Don't frack with me," but he told the City Council during a meeting that the signs are protected by being on private property, the Fort Worth (Texas) Star-Telegram reported Wednesday.

"We cannot regulate the content of these signs based on freedom of speech, which is protected under the First Amendment," Terrell said. "I just bring this to everyone's attention so that the folks who put up the signs know that there has been numerous complaints lobbed against those."

The signs are protesting XTO Energy's planned gas drilling at the Milner Ranch, which was approved by the City Council in February. The use of "frack" on the signs refers to "fracking," the drillers' process for fracturing rocks by shooting water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressure.

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