A Bill to Stop the Banning of Fracking Is About to Become Law in Texas

A fracking rig. (Image: DECCgovuk via Compfight cc)
A fracking rig. (Image: DECCgovuk via Compfight cc)

A bill that will prevent cities and counties from being able to ban the practice of fracking on their land has just been passed by the house of state legislators in Texas 122-18 and is on its way to becoming law. Not surprisingly, the bill is supported by energy companies.

The proposed law will prevent municipalities and other local authorities from being able to enact their own bans on hydraulic fracturing and drilling for crude oil and natural gas. The state will have the power to override any efforts to ban fracking, and give gas and oil companies the access they want to extract the resources, even if it’s against the wishes of voters and politicians at a local level.

Texas House OKs rules to prohibit city fracking bans:

The bill has been approved by the Republican-controlled Texas House and will now proceed to the Senate. It is expected to be approved and then go to Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott has previously decried the level of regulation placed on such companies by local authorities, The Guardian wrote on their website.

This move is in response to a recent decision by Denton, a college town about 30 miles from Dallas.

They had placed a ban on fracking inside its city limits over concerns about recurring small earthquakes and other safety worries linked to deep gas wells. Denton sits on a gas-rich shale formation that stretches across 24 counties in north Texas.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association, which represents a majority of the energy companies, has sued Denton, and has been lobbying lawmakers.

Texas House OKs rules to prohibit city fracking bans:

Moves by local authorities to try to keep fracking out of their backyards are afoot in other parts of Texas. Opponents of the bill now going through the Texas legislature complain that the state is grabbing power from local government and say the new law will jeopardize safety close to homes and schools, wrote The Guardian.

A Texas town bans fracking, but is quickly overruled:

“It is a carte blanche for all sorts of heavy industries associated with energy production, including disposal, transport, and processing,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of the nonprofit Texas Campaign for the Environment.

However, Republican lawmaker Drew Darby said the state was simply trying to accommodate the needs of the growing population of Texas and the potential to develop vital resources, while protecting citizens.

It seems that wherever large amounts of money are at stake, greed trumps people’s rights and welfare every time.

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