Fracking Bans in Texas?

Mission Well Services Frac Spread
Mission Well Services Frac Spread

Fracking bans have already been put into place across the country, but what could a fracking ban mean for the oil & gas industry in Texas?

We may not have to wait very long to find out. In Denton, TX, a small community northwest of Dallas, the Denton Drilling Awareness Group (DAG), has petitioned enough signatures to place an ordinance on local ballots in November, banning fracking within the city limits. If the ordinance passes, that could spur a continued conversation and subsequent legal battle about the ability of local governments to regulate oil & gas activity.

Oil & Gas Activity Regulated by the State

In Texas, the Railroad Commission (RRC) is responsible for regulating oil and gas activity, and local city governments have historically had little say on the matter. Local municipalities are not without recourse, and can insist on some drilling-related restrictions, but an out-right drilling moratorium imposed by a municipal government due to fracking in the state is unprecedented.

The small community of Alpine, TX, close to the Big Bend area of the state, made headlines this week after members of the Big Bend Sierra Club presented a case against fracking in a July 1st city council meeting. The group proposed a city ordinance that would prohibit fracking in the city.

Impact of a Fracking Ban in Texas

Depending on the fall-out of a possible fracking ban in Texas, unfavorable scenarios for industry and mineral owners could result. Obviously, for industry, a drilling moratorium imposed by a municipal government, could conflict with regulatory processes with the RRC. That could open a whole new can of worms, resulting in potentially lengthy legal battles. Mineral owners in the impacted areas would also be affected, because there would be no way for their minerals to be accessed. That goes to private property rights, which historically, Texans have fought vigorously for.

Critics of fracking however maintain that it is a practice that could potentially contaminate groundwater, and cause general health concerns for the community. will keep you updated on any developments with this story.