Tags: fracking | texas | denton | natural gas

Texas City's Fracking Ban Sets Stage for Litigation

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 03:26 PM

Supporters of Texas' oil and gas industry say that when voters in Denton, Texas, last month decided to ban hydraulic fracturing ("fracking"), they voted away millions of dollars a year in tax revenue and set the stage for costly court battles, Breitbart reported Tuesday.

Fracking, a process in which hydraulically pressured sand and other chemicals are used to fracture deep-rock formations where oil and natural gas can be found, has resulted in a huge jump in energy production in Texas. The increase in Texas helped the United States become the world's largest natural gas producer in 2010 and its top petroleum producer this year, surpassing Saudi Arabia.

Denton is located on the Barnett Shale Geological Area, a 5,000-square mile geological formation stretching from the Dallas-Fort Worth area which includes some of the largest natural gas reserves in the United States.

There are more than 270 natural gas wells in the city of Denton, a college town about 40 miles north of Dallas. The fracking ban took effect earlier this month.

Adam Briggle, vice president of Frack Free Denton,  the organization behind the ban, which voters approved last month by a 59-41 margin, said his group's biggest concerns were industrial accidents and the impact that fracking would have on air and water.

Briggle, a philosophy professor at the University of North Texas, said that his organization's goal was to ensure that "local communities, the people most vulnerable to the risks of fracking, have more control over this," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Supporters of fracking argue that the procedure is safe, citing the findings of a study by the National Academy of Sciences, which found that when performed properly, fracking resulted in no groundwater or aquifer pollution as a result of the procedure itself.

Richard Burleson, an attorney representing the oil and gas industry, wrote in an August op-ed that the fracking ban could damage Denton's economy.

"A recent report from The Perryman Group estimates that if fracking were barred, it could potentially cost Denton $251.4 million in economic activity and 2,000 jobs over the next 10 years; slash tax revenues by $5.1 million to the city; and reduce revenues to the Denton Independent School District by $4.6 million," according to Burleson. "That money would have to be made up somewhere in order to maintain essential city services. The guess here is that it would ultimately have to come out of residents' pockets."

Thus far, two lawsuits have been filed against the fracking ban. Both question city voters' authority to enact such a prohibition, arguing that the issue must be decided by the state of Texas.

Additional litigation could also come from owners of property with mineral rights in Denton, who may argue that they were unfairly damaged by the fracking ban.

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Supporters of Texas' oil and gas industry say that when voters in Denton, Texas, last month decided to ban hydraulic fracturing (fracking), they voted away millions of dollars a year in tax revenue and set the stage for costly court battles, Breitbart reported Tuesday.
fracking, texas, denton, natural gas
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2014-26-16
Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 03:26 PM
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