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Abbott Signs Law To Rein In Texas Cities That Try To Regulate Drilling

The bill pretty much sailed through the Texas Legislature and onto the governor’s desk.

 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill HB 40 into law today.  

The new law will make it much tougher for cities to regulate how and where oil and gas operators drill wells, making it faster and less costly for drillers to do business even in urban areas.

As drilling surged in recent years, some cities developed their own rules and enforcement divisions. One was Fort Worth where lawyer Jim Bradbury helped developed local drilling regulations.

“This was an industry driven bill from the beginning. And they were able to get want they want very efficiently,” Bradbury told News 88.7.

The law was a response by industry to what voters in the North Texas city of Denton did last year. They completely outlawed the drilling technique called fracking, saying they were fed up with noisy, smelly drilling operations near homes, schools, and playgrounds.

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“These things are a danger,” said Denton resident Amy Long-Manuel, as she testified at a Texas Senate hearing in Austin earlier this month. A group of community organizers in Denton called the “Frackettes” spoofed the new law in a video.

But the oil and gas industry said it was the job of the state, not cities, to regulate drilling. That way, there’d be one set of rules statewide.

Governor Abbott said one of his priorities is to rein-in cities that try ban certain business activities like fracking.

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Dave Fehling

Dave Fehling

Director of News and Public Affairs

As Director of News and Public Affairs, Dave Fehling manages the radio news operation at Houston's NPR station. Previously, he was a reporter at the station, covering the oil & gas industry and its impact on the environment. He won top state honors for in-depth and investigative reporting as well...

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