Texas governor signs law banning local fracking restrictions

Texas governor signs law banning local fracking restrictions
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill to block local ordinances against hydraulic fracturing. 

The new law comes in response to a resolution banning fracking in the Texas town of Denton, which voters passed last November. The law “preempts regulation of oil and gas activity at the city level and resides that duty with the state,” according to Abbott’s office, and it “ensures that any local regulation of surface activity is commercially reasonable and does not effectively prohibit an oil and gas operation.”

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“This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city,” Abbott, a Republican, said in a  statement. The law “strikes a meaningful and correct balance between local control and preserving the state’s authority to ensure that regulations are even-handed and do not hamper job creation.”

Denton voters approved the city’s fracking ban in November, alongside a few other cities around the country. The state’s oil and gas industry opposed the ordinance, and eventually sued over it. 

Texas lawmakers took up the bill overruling the ban in April, eventually passing it easily in both the House and Senate. Green groups opposed the move. Environment Texas told the Dallas Morning News that the state "has failed to stop Big Oil from polluting our air and water, causing earthquakes, and putting our families at risk from leaks, spills and explosions."