Environmental groups Earthworks and the Denton Drilling Awareness Group filed interventions in cases filed against the city of Denton, Texas over its ordinance which bans fracking in the city. One lawsuit was filed against the City of Denton by the Texas Oil and Gas Association in Denton County District Court. The other lawsuit was filed by the Texas General Land Office in Travis County District Court.
The plaintiffs in these lawsuits claim that Denton’s ordinance banning fracking is preempted by state law. However, Denton and the intervening environmental groups argue that Texas law allows home rule authority over oil and gas development within municipalities.
The Denton ban on fracking went into effect on December 2, 2014. The ban was spearheaded by the Denton Drilling Awareness Group and put to a ballot initiative. Citizens claimed that testing of fracking facilities within the city detected levels of carcinogens exceeding the allowable state and federal levels.
Denton, Texas is located in the Barnett Shale, a rich source of natural gas where drilling using hydraulic fracturing is common. The Barnett Shale spans 5,000 square miles beneath 18 counties in Texas. It is the largest onshore natural gas field in the state.
For further updates on this litigation, stay tuned to this blog, or call Toni Ellington at (504) 599-8500.