The town of Denton, Texas, has instituted a fracking ban, becoming the first town in the state to place prohibitions on the controversial drilling technique. Ironically, the process for extracting hard-to-reach fossil fuels was invented just outside Denton. Now, nearly 60 percent of the town’s 120,000-plus residents voted in favor of the stoppage of new fracking efforts within city limits, according to Business Insider. The ban was approved on November 4, and went into effect December 2.
The Star-Telegram reported that Denton residents pushed for the fracking ban for many reasons, including spills of fracking fluid and a high volume of heavy vehicle traffic. However, the vote only created a moratorium on the creation of new fracking wells. Therefore, Denton’s 270 existing wells can continue to operate. In addition, the ban doesn’t cover conventional drilling.
But the people of Denton still have a struggle ahead of them when it comes to maintaining their fracking ban. Both the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil & Gas Association mobilized quickly to file a lawsuit in order to have the decision reversed. Such a lawsuit was to be expected, since Denton is located above the huge Barnett shale formation, which is suspected to be the United States’ largest reserve of natural gas.
There have been a number of studies regarding the potential hazards of fracking when it comes to human health. In September, the Inquisitr reported on an article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives that focused on the effects of living in close proximity to fracking operations. The results collected by researchers from Yale concluded that 40 percent of people who live less than a mile from fracking sites develop lung problems. As of yet, however, studies of this sort have not been convincing enough to cause a widespread discontinuation of the technique.
Though the energy industry may be afraid of other cities like Denton voting to ban fracking, attempts to do so across the country have met with mixed results. In states such as Ohio, Colorado, and California, various municipalities have won and lost bids to prohibit the practice in nearly equal measure. This is no doubt indicative of the nation’s divided feelings on the issue.
Texas’ bounty of fossil fuel deposits has, of course, made it the biggest producer of oil and natural gas in the country. In addition, the state is now a potential rival of Saudi Arabia for the title of world’s largest oil producer. Denton, no doubt, will have a tough fight against Big Oil and other energy producers.
Do you think fracking bans are a good idea? Do you believe that fracking is harmful to people and the environment?
[Image via Free Press Houston]