DENTON (AP) – The city of Denton, whose fracking ban prompted lawmakers to limit such local power, says a driller has revealed plans to resume fracking gas wells in the city.
According to documents obtained through an open records request, the Denton Record-Chronicle reports Vantage Energy notified the city early Tuesday of its plans to begin fracking on Denton’s west side, beginning next Wednesday. The notice came the morning after Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law Monday afternoon, limiting local authority to restrict fracking.
During last November’s election, Denton voters banned fracking within the borders of the city of about 125,000 residents, eliciting immediate vows by oil and gas drillers to topple that ban. The state and the drillers filed lawsuits challenging the ban in court, and the Legislature fulfilled the drillers’ vows last week.
The Denton ban remains on the books, but Mayor Chris Watts says the new state law likely renders it unenforceable and would likely stymie any effort to block Vantage plans to finish its gas wells.
“It’s my understanding we don’t plan on seeking an injunction,” Watts told the Record-Chronicle. As for the lawsuits still on the court dockets, city officials will be discussing those soon, Watts said.
“Where we go from here hasn’t been determined,” he said.
A call and email to a Vantage energy spokeswoman by The Associated Press were not returned.
The new state law has yet to be tested, however. “That’s the whole fun part of HB 40 – figuring out what it is and what it isn’t,” Watts said.
As for the grassroots fight in Denton against fracking, Frack Free Denton President Adam Briggle said that fight will continue.
“We cannot say how this story will unfold, but we do know this dark chapter shall not be the last one written,” he said.
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