The north Texas city of Denton has become the first in the Lone Star State to ban any more permitting of hydraulic fracturing, as voters on Tuesday sided overwhelmingly against Oklahoma City-based Devon Energy and other major oil companies that fought the campaign.
The Tuesday results saw 59 percent of the voters casting ballots in favor of the ban while 41 percent were against it. An estimated 15,000 favored the ban while about 10,500 were against it. Denton Mayor Chris Watts says he will move ahead with the ban but it will not apply to pre-existing permits.
“The City Council is committed to defending the ordinance and will exercise the legal remedies that are available to us should the ordinance be challenged,” said Watts in a statement Tuesday night. But the ban disappointed David Porter, a Texas Railroad Commissioner. He said he was disappointed that Denton voters fell prey to scare tactics and such a ban might possibly threaten the energy renaissance in Texas.
And some suggest the ban could lead to lawsuits by the oil and gas industry. The fracking ban was pushed more than a year ago by environmentalists and Denton residents who claimed the fracking was polluting drinking water. A group called Frack Free Denton started the drive last year when it submitted a petition to the City Council calling for a vote.
Major oil companies contributed to the campaign against the ban including Oklahoma City’s Devon Energy which gave nearly $200,000.