Travis County Court Agrees To Take Up Lawsuit On Denton’s Fracking Ban

Mon, November 17, 2014

During this November’s election, the people of Denton passed a city ordinance. This banned the oil and gas extraction technique known as “fracking” inside city limits. Immediately after that vote, state officials like Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, teamed up with the Texas’ Oil and Gas Association, to argue that the ban wasn’t valid.

Their rationale: It prevented the Texas Railroad Commission from regulating the oil and gas industry, and that a “lesser” government entity did not have the right to regulate a “higher” government entity. 

“There are provisions that allow municipalities to regulate for health and safety reason but the power to regulate is not the power to prohibit,” said Patterson.

But it is health and safety that Cathy McMullan, a registered nurse and president of the non-profit Frack Free Denton, put forward as their reason for passing the ban.

“We have the third-highest rate of asthma in children in this city, and we have tried everything we can to protect ourselves. We passed stronger ordinances in this city and the oil and production companies came in and said, ‘Well, we don’t have to follow your ordinances,’” said McMullan.

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