One of the bright spots in last Tuesday's election results was the fracking ban imposed in Denton, Texas by the voters there. Who would have thought a Texas city would be one of the first to pass a fracking ban?
This sets up a huge battle between the city of Denton and state authorities, who claim they have the right to issue permits for fracking regardless of the city's choice to ban fracking activity.
Texas Railroad Commission Chairwoman Christi Craddick told the Dallas Morning News that she would continue giving permits to oil and gas companies seeking to frack in Denton. Craddick asserted she could override the ban because Denton does not have authority over drilling activity in the state.
“It’s my job to give permits, not Denton’s,” Craddick said. “We’re going to continue permitting up there because that’s my job.”
Laughably, Craddick went on to fault the "lack of education" about the fracking process as the reason for the ban. As ThinkProgress notes, the oil companies threw lots of money at Denton residents for that so-called "education."
However, education from the oil and gas industry seemed prolific in Denton in the months leading up to the vote. Indeed, the Dallas Morning News reported that the fracking ban represented the most expensive political campaign in Denton’s history, and most of the money came from the oil and gas industry.
Specifically, Dallas News reported that major oil and gas companies like Chevron, Enervest and XTO donated a combined $685,000 to influence the debate over the fracking ban, while environmentalists contributed about $24,000.
Looks like the oil companies couldn't get Denton's residents to disbelieve their lyin' eyes. It is rather difficult when you're looking at the flammable water coming out of your tap while Chevron insists everything is just fine!
The larger question is one worth considering. Should cities have any control at all over what activities take place within their city limits, or should states trump whatever laws they might pass?