Frustrated Denton Councilman sees fracking ban as the only option

Sep 23, 2014, 12:08pm CDT

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Jake Dean

Denton homes that back up to producing wells.

Staff Writer- Dallas Business Journal
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Denton City Councilman Kevin Roden hears plenty of criticism of the Denton frack ban, but very few solutions.

That includes from the Denton Chamber of Commerce, the Texas Railroad Commission and the oil and gas industry itself, Roden wrote in a blog on his website.

The problem is that Denton has old abandoned oil wells all over the city, including near established neighborhoods, that could be redrilled as horizontal Barnett Shale wells, which require hydraulic fracking. The city’s ordinance, including its 1,200-foot setback requirement, is powerless to stop companies from drilling and fracking these wells -- no matter how close they are to homes -- because they are vested.

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That's what drove some Denton residents to gather signatures for a petition to ban fracking. Denton voters will consider the ban on fracking Nov. 4. If the referendum passes, it would be a first for a Texas city. The issue has become increasingly divisive for the city, with the chamber passing a resolution urging voters to reject the fracking ban.

The chamber cited the multimillion dollar impact the ban would have on the city, school district and universities, which was based on a study by Ray Perryman.

That didn’t sit well with Roden, who withdrew his membership from the chamber in protest.

“I’ve never seen even one policy recommendation coming from this body during the five or so years our community has struggled with this issue,” Roden said in his blog.

He’s willing to listen to solutions but “can’t lend financial support to the political hackery of an industry intent on harming my city.”

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Nicholas covers the energy, manufacturing, aviation and transportation beats for the Dallas Business Journal. Subscribe the Energy Inc. newsletter

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