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Accidental Houstonians, Denton Fracking Ban, and Footloose: Houston Matters for Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014

Many Houstonians were born here, but there are also many others who grew up someplace else and never really planned on living in Houston, but moved here for a job opportunity, or a life change. They are “accidental Houstonians.” And we explore what has brought some of them here over the years, and how they’ll […]

Many Houstonians were born here, but there are also many others who grew up someplace else and never really planned on living in Houston, but moved here for a job opportunity, or a life change. They are “accidental Houstonians.” And we explore what has brought some of them here over the years, and how they’ll help shape our city’s future, on this edition of Houston Matters.

We discuss historical migrations to Houston with Joe Pratt, Cullen Professor of History and Business at the University of Houston. Houston Chronicle reporter St. John Barned-Smith will join us to discuss his bi-weekly series at the Chronicle exploring accidental Houstonians. And we talk with Jeff Taebel, Director of Community and Environmental Planning at the Houston-Galveston Area Council, about where new Houstonians are coming from today. Along the way, we welcome your questions and comments, whether you would characterize yourself as an ‘accidental Houstonian” or not.

Also this hour: Among the more intriguing results in Tuesday’s election was the approval by voters in Denton of a ban on fracking. The north Texas city is the first in Texas to approve such a ban. The Texas Oil and Gas Association has already asked for an injunction to stop the measure from being enforced. Attorney Tom Phillips says the courts must “give a prompt and authoritative answer” on whether Denton voters have the authority to ban the practice. On the one hand, gas fields in Denton have been a financial boon for residents, the city, and gas companies. On the other hand, it’s not just private property that’s leased which can be impacted. (Property rights in Texas are split between the land and the minerals below). The energy industry group is arguing the ban violates the Texas Constitution.

We discuss this development with Houston Public Media energy and environment reporter Dave Fehling. We consider what led to it, and its implications, both environmental and legal. Then we turn our attention to another effort to reduce emissions across Texas, which requires a massive and costly replacement of thousands of valves along oil well sites and pipelines, designed to let methane escape. Dave will explain.

Plus: Kick off your Sunday shoes, for Bayou City Theatrics’ presentation of the stage musical version of Footloose. Houston Matters’ Edel Howlin will have a report.

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