Texas House votes to ban fracking bans

Posted: April 25, 2015 by oldbrew in Energy, government, Politics

Texas State Capitol building, Austin [credit: Daniel Mayer / Wikipedia]

Texas State Capitol building, Austin [credit: Daniel Mayer/Wikipedia]

From the US State synonymous with oil: legislation to limit the power of ‘nimbyism’ in developing – or not – natural energy resources.

Texas has moved a step closer to pre-empting cities and counties from banning fracking. On April 17, by a vote of 122-18, the Texas House passed House Bill 40 recognizing the Texas Railroad Commission’s long-held authority to regulate oil and gas exploration and production, including hydraulic fracking, in the state.

The bill was a reaction to the Denton, Texas’ fracking ban. Denton’s ban, approved by city voters in November, was the first ever attempt by a Texas city to assert local power to ban oil and gas production. If HB 40 ultimately becomes law, the bill would ban any ordinance that prohibits an oil and gas operation. A companion bill awaits action in the Texas Senate.

In a concession to the Texas Municipal League, which agreed not to oppose the bill, cities would retain limited authority over oil and gas production through their power to set reasonable limits on noise, night lighting, traffic and setbacks from buildings, although restrictions on the distance of wells to homes, schools and churches would have to be “commercially reasonable,” according to the bill.

Industry Applauds Bill

The Texas Oil & Gas Association released a statement calling the bill a “fair solution that balances local control and property rights and affirms that the state should regulate oil and gas operations as it has for decades.”

Gary Stone, vice-president of engineering for Five States Energy Capital, applauded the Houses move.

“The petroleum industry, land and mineral owners, and 75% of Texans in a recent poll cheer the passage of HB 40 by the Texas House,” said Stone.  “While the bill preserves city authority over certain surface regulations, it affirms the long-held right of the state to regulate oil and gas operations. As importantly, the bill prevents local ordinances from stopping reasonable production.  This in effect results in the taking of property (oil and gas reserves) without compensation, a violation of the Texas Constitution.”

Report: Texas House Votes to Ban City Fracking Bans | Heartlander Magazine.

Footnote: ‘As an independent nation, Texas would rank as the world’s seventh-largest producer of greenhouse gases.’ [Wikipedia]

  1. oldbrew says:

    Related: earth tremors said to be due to excessive wastewater disposal by drilling firms [NOT due to fracking itself].

    ‘Just last year, 585 magnitude 3+ earthquakes hit Oklahoma — compared with 109 in 2013.’


  2. ivan says:

    oldbrew, if that is what happens when they put a little water down a hole what is going to be the consequences of their putting gas under a much higher pressure down a hole? Will the gas be accepted because it is a demonised plant food while the water has the taint of FF on it?

    [reply] ‘a little water’ was 1.1 billion barrels in 2013

  3. tom0mason says:

    Sounds to me like HB40 is just get-richer-quicker scheme for the lawyers and attorneys.
    I might be wrong on this but I can’t see why else they have done it.

  4. phlogiston says:

    To me this seems like an enlightened step, challenging the dictatorship of the lace-curtain twitchers under which countries like Britain continue to languish…

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Oldbrew: Remember that each increase of 1 is a 10x of strength. A 3.x quake doesn’t even deserve notice and I usually don’t even feel them. A 4.x is sometimes noticed. A 5 is worth talk over coffee if news is slow, while 5.5 or better starts to be news worthy.

    Now a 6.x is an interesting ride, an definitly makes news, even when damage is low, but to really wake me up takes a 7. (I have a 7.1 notched…)

    BTW, IIRC a heavy truck makes a 1.x quake…

    Reporting the number of 3.x quakes is a bit of a stunt. A 4 might mean something…

    I have direct experience of several 5, 6, and a 7. Including being directly on top of a 5.5 or so. It was a fun, if uneventful, ride. Damaged one bridge abutment from settlement IIRC.

  6. oldbrew says:

    EMS: little old ladies may be reporting these minor tremors as something scary 😉