Houston Matters

Denton Fracking Ban Passes & Then Is Immediately Challenged in Court

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 […]

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.

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