Denton May Repeal Local Fracking Ban

To slow down the potential for a judicial ruling in support of a law that nullifies some city rules on hydraulic fracturing, the city of Denton is considering a repeal of their ban.

It was Denton’s flat ban on hydraulic fracturing that inspired House Bill 40, which became law May 18. The state requirement subjects any local ordinance to a four-prong test.

Under the new law, a city ordinance is pre-empted by the state unless it:

  • regulates only aboveground activity
  • is deemed “commercially reasonable”
  • doesn’t effectively prohibit an oil and operation conducted by a reasonably prudent operator
  • isn’t otherwise pre-empted by other state or federal law

That essentially renders Denton’s ban, which was enacted last year by approval of 59 percent of the city’s voters, unenforceable. Consequently, the Denton City Council may scrap the ban altogether.

But it’s not because they no longer support it.

“The question for Denton at this moment is this: What is the smartest way to fight,” wrote Kevin Roden, who represents District 1 on the Denton City Council, in a blog post May 29. The issue is listed as an item for individual consideration at the June 2 meeting, which means the public can register to comment and the council can act immediately to repeal the ban.

“I want to continue to fight against an arrogant, destructive industry and their paid-for Texas legislators who have displayed their disdain for democracy and demonstrated their continued inability to solve the problems that put Denton in this situation in the first place,” he continued.


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An award-winning journalist, Deon has reported on energy, business and politics for almost 20 years. Email Deon at


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