North Texas city rejects partial fracking ban - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

North Texas city rejects partial fracking ban

Posted: Updated:
  • NationalMore>>

  • With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off

    With GOP runoff over, Perdue and Nunn face off

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 7:14 AM EDT2014-07-23 11:14:26 GMT
    Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state's open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn...
    Now that Georgia Republicans have settled on businessman David Perdue as their nominee for the state's open Senate seat, the real battle begins with a marquee match-up in the fall against Democrat Michelle Nunn that...
  • Memorial honoring injured veterans under way in DC

    Memorial honoring injured veterans under way in DC

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:24 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:24:03 GMT
    Army Lt. Dawn Halfaker was on patrol 10 years ago in Baqubah, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade tore through her military vehicle and exploded inside.
    Army Lt. Dawn Halfaker was on patrol 10 years ago in Baqubah, Iraq, when a rocket-propelled grenade tore through her military vehicle and exploded inside.
  • Flight bans show skittishness over trouble spots

    Flight bans show skittishness over trouble spots

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 5:21 AM EDT2014-07-23 09:21:11 GMT
    By The Associated Press Delta Air Lines is canceling all flights to Israel until further notice, citing reports that a rocket landed near Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport.
    By The Associated Press When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel on Tuesday, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots...
By EMILY SCHMALL
Associated Press

DENTON, Texas (AP) - The council governing a North Texas city that sits atop a large natural gas reserve rejected a bid early Wednesday that would have made it the first city in the state to ban further permitting of hydraulic fracturing in the community.

Denton City Council members voted down the petition 5-2 after eight hours of public testimony, sending the proposal to a public ballot in November.

Fracking involves blasting a mix of water, sand and chemicals deep into underground rock formations to release trapped oil and gas. While the method has long stirred concerns about its effects on the environment and human health, industry proponents argue that fracking can be done safely and is cleaner than other forms of energy extraction.

Industry groups and state regulators warned such a ban could be followed by litigation and a severe hit to Denton's economy.

Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Railroad Commission, the Texas oil and gas regulator, said in a letter addressed to Denton's mayor and city council last week that a fracking ban in Denton would "increase America's dependence" on foreign oil and natural gas.

Tom Phillips, a former chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, representing the powerful Texas Oil and Gas Association, testified that some of its thousands of members would "undoubtedly sue" if the ban eventually passed.

But organizers of the citizen-led petition that - with about 1,900 voter signatures - forced the council to Wednesday's vote, said they proposed the ban as a last resort after fracking operators defied city rules, particularly ones governing setbacks and flarings.

"If the industry had approached anything near reasonableness" in accepting the rules, activists would not have demanded the ban, said Sharon Wilson of the environmental nonprofit Earthworks.

In making a motion to approve the ban, Councilman Kevin Roden argued the "bold move" would force industry to come up with solutions to satisfy citizens' concerns. The motion, however, was not seconded.

The threats of litigation appeared to color how some of the Denton council members voted. Councilman Greg Johnson voiced concerns that lawsuits from the state and from mineral holders could bankrupt the city.

An estimated 500 people turned out to Denton City Hall Tuesday, spilling over into satellite rooms and even a city building across the street. More than 100 people registered to speak during the hearing before the vote.

Among them was Riley Briggs, an 11-year-old Boy Scout, who said he no longer visited a city park after gas wells were installed across the street.

Other petition supporters, some who tearfully addressed the council, said the risks to human health and the environment outweigh the economic benefits.

Denton sits on the Barnett Shale, which is believed to hold one of the largest natural gas reserves in the U.S.

City leaders introduced a temporary ban on new fracking permits in May after fracking-ban proponents delivered a petition containing about 2,000 signatures.

The temporary ban is set to expire in September.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.