drilling | KERA News


If the oil and gas boom continues as projected, the planet could experience "catastrophic climate change" by 2050, according to an analysis released yesterday.

The report from Oil Change International, a coalition of environmental groups, says continued growth in fossil fuel extraction – much of which occurs in Texas – could derail any hope of avoiding dire effects of climate change.

The Trump administration is proposing dramatic changes to policies on offshore leasing for oil and gas, opening the door to radically expand drilling in waters that were protected by the Obama administration.

It's the "largest number of lease sales ever proposed, " Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told reporters. The proposed plan to sell offshore drilling leases in the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic over a five-year period was detailed Thursday.

Christopher Connelly/KERA

These days, oil prices seem to go nowhere but down. In Texas, drivers are paying less than $2 per gallon at the pump, on average. So what do low gas prices mean for consumers, and for this oil-producing state’s economy?

Courtesy Murray Family / Texas Tribune

While filling a cattle trough 15 months ago, Ashley Murray noticed something odd occurring in the shack housing her family’s water pump. High-pressure water was spraying everywhere.

This year state lawmakers severely restricted the ability of Texas towns to regulate local oil and gas drilling.

A law known as House Bill 40 was a reaction to a fracking ban passed by voters in the North Texas city of Denton.

Denton has come to represent local fracking bans and clashes between local governments and the oil and gas industry. But while Denton was the first city in Texas to ban fracking, it wasn't the first city to ban drilling within city limits.

That practice goes back years, according to a survey by the Texas Municipal League.


The Texas House Friday overwhelmingly passed a bill to limit local regulation of oil and gas drilling. It comes after stronger local drilling ordinances and a vote by residents in Denton to ban fracking within the city limits.

BJ Austin

A bill on the fast track in Austin would pre-empt city ordinances regulating oil and gas drilling.  A vote scheduled next Tuesday in the Texas House is setting off alarm bells at Dallas City Hall. 

Courts Will Take Up Case Of Fracking V. Drilling

Nov 13, 2014
Cooper Neill / The Texas Tribune

Dear Texas, welcome to Fracking 101. Your professors? Texas judges.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

Denton made history Tuesday night, becoming the first city in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. The vote passed 59 percent to 41 percent, to the surprise of even the supporters of the ban.

Drillers, But Not Fracking, Tied to Tainted Water, Study Shows

Sep 15, 2014
Paul Moseley / Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Oil and gas activities – but not hydraulic fracturing – tainted drinking water wells atop North Texas’ Barnett Shale and Pennsylvania’s Marcellus formation, according to a new study. 

Eagle Ford Sees Another Kind of Boom: Publishing

Aug 18, 2014
Spencer Selvidge / The Texas Tribune

BOERNE — This town does not sit atop South Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale, but inside an air-conditioned advertising agency here, four women produce a newspaper that has infiltrated that dusty drilling country.

A Vantage Energy natural gas rig in southwest Arlington just south of Interstate 20, Monday, December 23, 2013
Paul Moseley / Star-Telegram

The city of Denton could take another step Tuesday toward becoming the only Texas city to permanently ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. 

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

The Denton City Council on Tuesday voted to impose a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing until September.

But fracking opponents want to make that permanent through an ordinance that would prohibit the practice in Denton. They’ve submitted a petition that seeks a total ban.

Dave Fehling / StateImpact

In some cities, behind neat brick walls and wrought iron fences, you might find rows of nice homes.

In Fort Worth, you might find a gas well.

“We’re still drilling wells. We have three sites that are actively drilling. We have 2,000 producing wells,” said Tom Edwards, a senior inspector with the City of Fort Worth’s gas drilling division.

BJ Austin, KERA

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings says a $30 million lawsuit filed Thursday by Trinity East Energy is the latest in a “game of poker.” The gas drilling company is suing the city, claiming it breached a contract that would have allowed it to drill on city property. 


Five stories that have North Texas talking: A shooting at the brand-new Frisco Gun Club (it was accidental), Ray Price is near death, what are the top Foursquare check-ins in Dallas?, and more:  

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

After months, even years, of debate, the Dallas City Council on Wednesday approved strict new gas drilling rules. Drilling opponents are cheering. Gas industry officials say the new rules are so tough that wells may never get drilled on the city’s western edge, which sits over the eastern extremes of the Barnett Shale.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The Dallas City Council passed a new, more restrictive gas drilling ordinance this afternoon. It includes a 1,500-foot setback from homes, businesses, schools and other so-called protected uses.

An 11th hour amendment was approved that requires a tougher two-thirds majority council vote to reduce the setback.

Ecopolitologist / flickr.com

The Dallas City Council has killed plans to drill for natural gas on three tracts of land in the northwest part of the city. Concerns about the drilling on park land and in the floodplain trumped worries about the city getting sued.

City of Dallas

The Dallas City Plan Commission has reaffirmed intentions to require a 1500 foot buffer zone, or setback, between gas wells and so-called protected uses, like homes.  

Drilling opponent Gary Stuard was at Thursday's City Hall hearing on the new drilling ordinance Plan Commissioners are crafting.  He thanked them for increasing the setback.

"Citizens come first before business," Stuard told Commissioners. "Citizens should never be sacrificed on the altar of profit.”

A new study of 100 private water wells in and near the Barnett Shale showed elevated levels of potential contaminants such as arsenic, according to a team of researchers led by UT Arlington.

BJ Austin / KERA News

It appears the Dallas Plan Commission is taking a tougher stand on gas drilling than the city’s drilling task force recommended. Plan Commissioners are crafting the new ordinance to regulate drilling in Dallas.

BJ Austin / KERA News

It’s the end of an era in Dallas City Council District 14.  The outspoken Angela Hunt is stepping down because of term limits and seven candidates are lined up to take her place.  It’ll be a big job for the newcomer chosen to represent a diverse and demanding district. So, what do constituents want?

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

The debate was civil Thursday night in one of Dallas’ hottest  city council races, between incumbents Delia Jasso and Scott Griggs. There are big differences between the two, where re-drawn council districts covering North Oak Cliff forced the face-off.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Gas drilling on park land in northwest Dallas has been turned down for a second time.  The City Plan Commission heard three hours of debate over drilling permits for Trinity East Energy.

City of Dallas

For the second time the Dallas City Plan Commission has rejected gas drilling permits on city parkland in Northwest Dallas.   

The vote followed three hours of sometimes heated debate and discussion.

Now the issue goes to the full city council, and because of today’s defeat a super majority of the council – 12 members- would have to approve the permits before the first wells could be drilled.

BJ Austin / KERA News

There could be fireworks at Dallas City Hall Thursday afternoon when the City Plan Commission takes a second vote on gas drilling permits. 

BJ Austin / KERA News

One Dallas City Council member is calling for an independent investigation of the city manager’s handling of a 2008 gas drilling lease.  But a majority of the council is strongly in Mary Suhm’s corner.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm takes the hot seat Wednesday at City Hall.  The mayor has requested an explanation of the Trinity East Energy gas drilling lease, and the surprise plans to drill on city park land.

Ari Moore / flickr.com

Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm admits her staff added a piece of city park land to a gas drilling lease without City Council approval.