Denton Defends Its New Fracking Ban
Texas’ first fracking ban has taken effect in Denton, which is located over a large natural gas reserve. Voters in the North Texas city passed the ban last month.
An industry group and the state's General Land Office responded quickly with lawsuits seeking an injunction in District Court to stop it from being enforced.
A court battle could determine whether any city in Texas can rebuff the oil and gas industry and still thrive.
Denton's City Council has pledged to defend the ban.
Bolstered by oil and gas companies, the ban's opponents raised nearly 20 times more than supporters.
But a University of North Texas analysis found that only a fraction of Denton homeowners own the minerals beneath their properties. In Texas, mineral rights and surface rights are separate.
Texas’ largest petroleum group is asking a Denton County district court to declare the ban invalid and unenforceable, saying it infringes on the state’s right to regulate drilling – and mineral owners’ right to develop their resources. … Denton called the oil and gas extraction technique a “public nuisance” that the North Texas town has the right to regulate. “Those activities have caused conditions that are subversive of public order and constitute an obstruction of public rights of the community as a whole,” Denton’s attorneys wrote in a legal brief filed Monday. “Such conditions include, but are not limited to, noise, increased heavy truck traffic, liquid spills, vibrations and other offensive results.”