By Jeff Ray

DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – City council members in Denton on Tuesday night could have made history by approving a ban on fracking. But instead, voters will have the final word. The decision took almost all night to come down, with the council voting just before 3:00 a.m. after nine hours of discussion.

More than 100 people had signed up to address the city council. The citizens stood in line well into Wednesday morning at the public meeting to share their opinions about the possible ban. Many of those who spoke at the meeting were opposed to fracking, and hoped that council members would take the temporary ban — which is already in place until September — and make it permanent.

For the most part, the argument seemed to pit the revenue of oil and gas versus the protection of the environment.

“I’ve lived in Denton all my life, and I’m proud of that,” stated 11-year-old speaker Riley Briggs. “It is quite past my bedtime, and that is because I would like to stand up against fracking.”

Briggs stopped playing at a city park in Denton after a fracking drill pad went up next to it. “I don’t want my future, everyone else’s future, to be driven by people who want money,” the boy said. “If I have kids, I want them to grow up in a safe and healthy world that’s not driven by money.”

This all began with a petition initiative which was signed by 2,000 residents of Denton. As obligated by the city’s charter, the council had to hold Tuesday night’s public hearing to further discuss the issue. Ultimately, council members decided that the people will get to have their say on the future of fracking within the city’s limits.

Council members voted 5-2 to put the issue on hold until the November ballot. If the voters then approve the ban, Denton could become the first city in Texas to prohibit fracking.

“I think what we’ve seen here,” said Denton Mayor Chris Watts, “regardless of what happens to that ordinance, we have an issue that we have to resolve.”

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