Mixed results for local anti-fracking measures

Voters in some localities in Texas, Ohio and California voted to ban or put new restrictions on hydraulic fracturing for oil and natural gas, though other ballot measures in those states failed.

Denton, Texas; Athens, Ohio; and San Benito and Mendocino counties in California passed ballot measures to restrict fracking, the controversial method of injecting fluid into wells to extract more oil and gas.

ADVERTISEMENT
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said the passed measures show a growing trend of localities opposing fracking.

“Whether this happens at the polls, through local governments or in the courts, the message is clear: Americans are demanding the right to determine their own fracking fate,” Kate Sinding, director of the NRDC’s Community Fracking Defense Project, said in a statement.

She put the blame for the defeated measures solely on the industry.

“Where these measures did not pass yesterday — we know from past experience that as long as the oil and gas industry runs amok, the local fight is far from over,” she said.

Denton voters passed the measure by a landslide, becoming the first city to ban fracking in Texas, the Dallas Morning News reported.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association said it would sue the city to overturn the ban. The industry had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to oppose the ban before the election.

In Athens, voters moved to restrict oil and gas development, including fracking and drilling, within the city, in an attempt to protect water. It also establishes a “bill of rights” for landowners as part of the restrictions.

The proposal passed with 78 percent of the vote, according to the Athens Messenger

But in Youngstown, Ohio, voters rejected a fracking ban for the fourth time, the Vindicator reported

“Bill of rights” measures in the Ohio cities of Gates Mills and Kent also failed.

California had mixed results in anti-fracking measures as well.

In San Benito and Mendocino counties banned the practice, but in Santa Barbara County, voters decided against a prohibition, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The California proposals met stiff resistance and millions of dollars of opposition from the oil and gas industries, who said they would harm the economies of the jurisdictions.