Debate heating up over Denton ban on fracking

City of Denton, TX

City limits of Denton, TX

Last week residents of Denton, Texas voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, within the city limits. This decision drew national attention and seemed to produce equal amounts of enthusiasm and unrest. The next day, officials at the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association filed separate legal challenges to the new ban.

The measure, which passed with 59% approval, is the first of its kind in the state. Denton residents have cited noise complaints, decreased property values, under-regulation and environmental concerns as reasons for passing the ban. Similarly, other local bans have recently passed in Ohio and California.

Opponents are concerned that by banning hydraulic fracturing it will be economically impossible to access the gas beneath the city using the more traditional drilling methods that are available. Shortly after the measure passed, Christi Craddick, the Texas Railroad Commission chairwoman, stated that the ban wouldn’t prevent the commission from issuing “fracking permits”.

Ultimately, it will be up to the courts to decide the validity of the hydraulic fracturing ban. With the spotlight now on the small town of Denton, it will be interesting to see how events play out. Take a look at the links below for additional reporting on the new ban.

The Texas Tribune
The Washington Post
The New York Times

environmental data reportsIan Holt
Water Well Coordinator

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