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Denton Rejects Hydraulic Fracturing Ban

City Council Sends Decision to Voters

Voters will decide if Denton will become the first city in Texas to ban the hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas.

Just before 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Denton City Council voted 5-2 against a bid to ban future of hydraulic fracturing in the city.  The 5-2 vote kicked the question to the city’s November ballot, the next step in a high-profile property rights clash that will likely be resolved outside of Denton.

There are currently close to 300 drilling sites in the city of Denton, and many of them use hydraulic fracturing as part of the drilling process. A temporary ban is already in place banning new hydraulic fracturing.

“It’s a high-stakes game,” said mayor Chris Watts, who said he voted against the proposal so that citizens would have a say. “This issue is going to be decided in one of two places: the statehouse or the courthouse.”

State Rep. Myra Crownover, R-Denton, and Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, both said they understood such concerns, but that a ban on hydraulic fracturing would go too far in addressing them, and that it’s the state’s job to go after the industry’s bad actors.

“I promise to work diligently with Senator Estes to find a finely crafted fix for these issues,” Crownover, vice chairwoman of the House Energy Resources Committee, said at the hearing.

PESA applauds the mayor and city council for rejecting the petition.