DENTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – A Denton city councilman called the state’s oil and gas regulating agency absent and unconcerned. It followed the first sign of interest from the Railroad Commission of Texas, on a citizen-led fracking ban proposal in the city, years after Denton started wrestling with the issue.

City councilman Kevin Roden wrote that he would gladly have a thousand citizens yell at him over the issue, than read letters from “out-of-touch Austin bureaucrats.”

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“I have no interest in an advocacy letter defending the very industry and weak regulations that have created these problems in the first place,” he wrote.

Commission chairman Barry Smitherman sent Roden and other city leaders a four-page letter Friday. It called the fracking ban an outright ban on all drilling. The letter detailed the benefit of energy production to the national economy. Smitherman also included a paragraph mentioning a connection between Russia and environmentalists.

He wrote “I trust that you all will determine” where the funding and manpower behind the Denton ban was from.

Railroad Commission staff did not respond to questions about Roden’s letter.

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The city will consider that petition at a public hearing Tuesday. Hundreds of people are expected at city hall. The city council can accept the proposed ordinance, or turn it down, and let voters decide the issue in November.

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