Published on

Industry Lashes Out With Lawsuit Hours After Landmark Fracking Ban

Supporters of Denton's fracking ban say justice will prevail

The oil and gas industry wasted no time in filing a legal challenge to the fracking ban voters just passed in Denton, Texas.  (Photo:  Vertigogen/flickr/cc)

Mere hours after voters in Denton, Texas made history by enacting the state's first ban on fracking, the oil and gas industry has challenged that move with a lawsuit.

Supporters say the ban, which passed with the support of nearly 59 percent of voters, said it was necessary to protect the city from the polluting and dangerous process.

But the Texas Oil and Gas Association (TXOGA) announced Wednesday that it was filing an injunction, charging that the ban "is inconsistent with state law and therefore violates the Texas Constitution."

A statement from attorney Thomas Phillips, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and a partner with the firm representing TXOGA, reads, in part: "While home-rule cities like Denton may certainly regulate some aspects of exploration and drilling, TXOGA does not believe that they may enact ordinances that outlaw conduct, like hydraulic fracturing, that has been approved and regulated by state agencies."

According to reporting by the Wall Street Journal, the suit was filed minutes after the courthouse opened.

The lawsuit comes as no surprise to the Denton Drilling Awareness Group and Frack Free Denton, which had advocated for the ban.

The oil and gas industry has "apparently learned nothing from last night’s landslide vote," the groups said in a statement. "They have taken no time to reflect on their own irresponsible actions that brought the people of Denton to this point. Industry could have taken this moment to address why the ban was passed. Instead they’re going to try to squash it. "

"If justice prevails, and we think it will, they will lose," the groups state.

Mid-Year Campaign: Your Support is Needed Now.

Common Dreams is a small non-profit - Over 90% of the Common Dreams budget comes from reader support. No advertising; no paywalls: our content is free. But our costs are real. Common Dreams needs your help today! If you're a regular reader—or maybe a new one—and you haven't yet pitched in, could you make a contribution today? Because this is the truth: Readers, like you, keep us alive. Please make a donation now so we can continue to work for you.

Share This Article