Industry Lashes Out With Lawsuit Hours After Landmark Fracking Ban

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.

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