Texans Highlight How Extreme Drilling Setbacks Threaten Private Property Rights

Monday, August 03, 2015

Cities in North Texas may be prohibited from banning fracking, but that hasn’t stopped some of them from trying to impose what are known as extreme setbacks, which dictate how far drilling sites must be from buildings, homes, and other structures. As North Texans for Natural Gas has previously shown, these setbacks can effectively ban drilling.

But setbacks impact far more than just the energy industry. By preventing development, extreme drilling setbacks can strip Texans of their private property rights.   

Several land developers in Denton recently spoke up about this crucial point, showing how extreme setbacks of 1,000 feet can render large tracts of land undevelopable. That means no new homes, no new businesses, and no ability to develop that land as the owner sees fit.

In fact, as one developer put it, with a 1,000-foot setback, there would be “over 15,000 acres in the city of Denton that we’d never be able to develop.” 

City councilman Greg Johnson explained why prohibiting development within 1,000 feet of a well site is problematic: 

“It’s not about money. It’s not about making sure people can make money. It’s about somebody’s rights.”