Denton, a gas and oil city located north of Dallas, is expected to become the first Lone Star State city to ban fracking. On Tuesday, voters approved a proposed ban on the drilling method — the vote follows Denton’s City Council rejection of the proposal over the summer.
Denton sits on top of a large reserve called the Bernett Shale–the gas and oil industry in the city has allowed its economy to prosper.
State officials are reportedly prepared to fight the ban, which they believe is unconstitutional, in court.
While those against fracking cite environmental concerns, there is an obvious benefit to the high-tech method, which includes blasting water, sand, and other chemicals. Fracking lowers the cost of natural gas and could help make the U.S. energy independent.
The gas an oil industry has allowed Texas to thrive and become an economic powerhouse. Many have ditched California and its anti-business policies in favor of Texas, where young people are getting rich in gas and oil. New drilling technology has shifted the focus of the oil industry, and provided an ideal opportunity for millenials to enter the scene. According to Bloomberg News, “conventional drilling” is likely to retire with baby boomers, since the technological breaking through and the new generation of oilmen are grabbing hold of the industry simultaneously.
Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter voiced disappointment over Tuesday’s vote. He said in a statement provided to the Star-Telegram, “Texas is a global energy leader and has the best job climate in the country because of our fair, even-handed regulatory environment. Bans based on misinformation — instead of science and fact — potentially threaten this energy renaissance and as a result, the well-being of all Texans. This issue will continue to be hotly contested. I am confident that reason and science will triumph, and the ban will be overturned.”
But not everyone shares Porter’s view.
Ed Soph, a Denton resident and professor of music at the University of North Texas, supported the ban. Referring to an article penned by Breitbart Texas in June, Soph told this reporter, “If you and your family experienced two weeks of the noise and dust and foul air and toxic emissions of the process, the arrogance of the industry, and the incompetence of both local and state officials to protect the health and property rights of the tax paying residents you would write a much different story.”
Soph is part of the Denton Drilling Awarness Group (DAG), which aims to make Denton “frack free.” The group’s website says, “Knowing that a precautionary approach provides the best protection for the health and well being of the city, DentonDAG has initiated a citizens’ petition to ban hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) within the city limits until the process has been proven safe or until technological advances ensure that there are no credible environmental and health hazards.”
The ban, if approved, will reportedly go into effect on December 2.
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