Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Denton, Texas, Discusses Drilling Ordinance to Comply with New State Law

On July 28, 2015, the Denton City Council held a discussion concerning proposed amendments to the Denton Development Code, specifically to subchapters 5, 16 and 22 relating to Gas Well Drilling and Production, Definitions and Procedures. This discussion is a step toward the local governments compliance with new state legislation “relating to the exclusive jurisdiction of [state regulators] to regulate oil and gas operations in this state and the express preemption of local regulation of those regulations.”

In November 2014, Denton City residents voted to ban shale gas extraction using hydraulic fracturing. On May 18, 2015, however, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a law preventing local governments from banning hydraulic fracturing for shale gas extraction. According to the law, state regulators have exclusive jurisdiction to regulate oil and gas operations. Local governments, therefore, “may not enact or enforce an ordinance or other measure, that bans, limits, or otherwise regulates an oil and gas operation within the boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdiction of [local governments],” except for provisions relating to fire and emergency response, traffic, lights, noise, imposing notice and setback requirements.

Following the enactment of the state law, both Texas Oil and Gas Association and Texas General Office filed lawsuits against the City of Denton challenging the hydraulic fracturing moratorium on the grounds of said law. On June 17, 2015, the Denton City Council approved Ordinance No. 2015-192 repealing Initiative Ordinance No. 2014-01 prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.

Further background information is available at:

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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