Saturday, March 28, 2015

State Preempts Municipal Control Over Gas Drilling

On March 24, the Texas House of Representatives’ Energy Resources Committee passed a bill that would rescind the fracking ban in Denton and other efforts by local Texas municipalities to protect themselves from the oil and gas industry. Once language in the bill is finalized, the legislation will make its way to the full Texas Senate for a vote.

On March 23, hundreds turned up to speak out against State Rep. Drew Darby‘s (R - San Angelo) proposed House Bill 40 at a hearing in Austin that lasted more than eight hours. The committee has yet to vote on HB 40.  The Texas Senate Natural Resources  Economic Development Committee voted unanimously on March 24 to approve Senate Bill 1165.  SB 1165 is a bill with legislative language similar to HB 40 that also asserts the state’s preemptive right over local city control to regulate oil and gas development.

For over a decade, more than 300 cities have come up with their own ordinances to do things how they see fit within their city limits, a right the Texas constitution grants to cities. The bill would be retroactive making it impossible to enforce all local ordinances created in the last decade in more than 300 cities, according to the Texas Municipal League.

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