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EPA Reverses Course, Highlights Fracking Contamination Of Drinking Water

Dec 13, 2016
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Scott Tong and Tom Scheck

This story was reported in conjunction with APM Reports

In a reversal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the final version of a six-year, $29 million study today, highlighting the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing has caused some contamination to drinking water resources across the country.

Study: Barnett Shale Is Richer Than Previously Thought

Dec 18, 2015
Mark Graham / Texas Tribune

North Texas’ Barnett Shale — one of the country’s largest natural gas fields and the birthplace of modern fracking — holds even more reachable gas than previously thought, the federal government says.  

Lloyd Wilson via flickr

Denton is considering an ambitious $1.3 billion plan to ramp up the amount of energy it gets from renewable sources. The goal is to get 70 percent from renewables by 2019. Denton Municipal Electric is one of 72 public electric companies in Texas. The utility made waves 6 years ago when it announced that the city would get 40 percent of its power from wind.

Cooper Neill / The Texas Tribune

The city of Denton is now free of the state’s legal crosshairs. 

The Texas General Land Office has dropped its lawsuit against the North Texas city’s obliterated ban on hydraulic fracturing and moratorium on new gas drilling, officially resolving all litigation over the local vote, which made international headlines.

Petroleum Industry Agrees To Dismiss Denton Lawsuit

Sep 11, 2015
Cooper Neill/The Texas Tribune

Now that Denton has repealed its ban on hydraulic fracturing and its ban on gas drilling has expired, lawyers for the oil and gas industry have agreed to drop their lawsuit against the city.

Courtesy Murray Family / Texas Tribune

While filling a cattle trough 15 months ago, Ashley Murray noticed something odd occurring in the shack housing her family’s water pump. High-pressure water was spraying everywhere.

This year state lawmakers severely restricted the ability of Texas towns to regulate local oil and gas drilling.

A law known as House Bill 40 was a reaction to a fracking ban passed by voters in the North Texas city of Denton.

Denton has come to represent local fracking bans and clashes between local governments and the oil and gas industry. But while Denton was the first city in Texas to ban fracking, it wasn't the first city to ban drilling within city limits.

That practice goes back years, according to a survey by the Texas Municipal League.

The North Texas City of Denton made headlines last year when voters there banned the oil drilling technique known as fracking. Early this morning, the Denton City Council repealed that unenforceable ban in a move to head off costly future legal battles.

Many Denton City Council members said they had no choice but to repeal the ban. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill into law earlier this year that takes the power to regulate most drilling activity away from local governments.

Texas, Petroleum Industry Broaden Suits Against Denton

Jun 16, 2015
Cooper Neill / Texas Tribune

Lawyers for Texas and its powerful oil and gas industry won’t let Denton out of their sights – even after the North Texas city conceded that the Legislature defanged its six-month-old ban on hydraulic fracturing.

When voters in Denton banned the oil drilling technique called fracking there last year, the North Texas city took center stage in a national debate over oil and gas, property rights and the environment. But now some of the same people who pushed for the ban are calling to repeal it.

After Fracking Ban, Denton Residents Ponder Next Steps

Jun 3, 2015
Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Frustrated and grasping for options that weren't apparent, Denton residents flooded a city council meeting Tuesday night to assess where things stand after state lawmakers smacked down an ordinance voters passed last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing within city limits.

Though Fracked Again, Denton Says Fight Isn't Over

Jun 2, 2015
Cooper Neill / Texas Tribune

Seven months after a rag-tag group of local activists scored a surprising victory over the state’s powerful oil and gas industry by convincing voters in Denton to ban hydraulic fracturing, heavy trucks bearing piping, perforating guns and other high-powered equipment waited at well site early Monday.

Fracking To Resume In Denton After State Prohibits City Fracturing Bans

May 25, 2015
Cooper Neill / Texas Tribune

Nearly seven months after voters made it the first Texas town to ban hydraulic fracturing, Denton is poised to be fracked again.

The Texas Tribune

Saying Texas needs to avoid a “patchwork of local regulations” that threaten oil and gas production, Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday signed legislation that would pre-empt local efforts to regulate a wide variety of drilling-related activities.

Mark Graham / Texas Tribune

The so-called Denton fracking bill is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. 

Justices Prolong North Texas Fracking Battle

Apr 27, 2015
Cooper Neill / Texas Tribune

A Fort Worth-based oil and gas company may continue seeking defamation damages from a Parker County man who claimed its drilling fouled his well, but may not go after his wife. 

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

A couple of significant news developments transformed what was supposed to be a broad discussion of energy policy Friday.

Cooper Neill / The Texas Tribune

The Texas House passed a bill Friday that would limit cities and counties from regulating hydraulic fracturing within its limits. The oil and gas industry-backed measure was overwhelmingly approved by the House.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The Texas Legislature is poised to take a major step toward wiping out a highly publicized local ban on hydraulic fracturing approved in Denton - and ensuring that other communities don't follow suit.

Texas Senate Committee Advances 'Denton Fracking Bill'

Mar 25, 2015
Cooper Neill/Texas Tribune

A Senate committee gave unanimous approval Tuesday to a bill that would limit local control over oil and gas activities across Texas — a measure being referred to as the "Denton fracking bill." 

Mark Graham / The Texas Tribune

As policy dilemmas go, the one triggered when Denton voters decided last fall to ban hydraulic fracturing in their city looked like a whopper: The oil and gas industry versus local control — two things Texas holds dear — in intractable opposition. There seemed little doubt lawmakers would weigh in upon their return to Austin.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

State lawmakers this session will consider bills to limit the power of cities to enact certain laws. Those local ordinances could include bans on hydraulic fracturing, using plastic bags at stores, and LGBT non-discrimination ordinances.

Dissecting Denton: How This North Texas City Banned Fracking

Dec 16, 2014
Brandi Korte / Frack Free Denton / Texas Tribune

Cathy McMullen taps the brakes of her Toyota Prius after driving through a neighborhood of mostly one-story homes in Denton. “There,” she says, nodding toward a limestone wall shielding from view a pad of gas wells.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Texas’ first fracking ban has taken effect in Denton, which is located over a large natural gas reserve. Voters in the North Texas city passed the ban last month.

Courts Will Take Up Case Of Fracking V. Drilling

Nov 13, 2014
Cooper Neill / The Texas Tribune

Dear Texas, welcome to Fracking 101. Your professors? Texas judges.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The Texas Oil and Gas Association filed a request for injunctive relief in Denton County District Court Wednesday following the passage of the Denton fracking ban.

Christina Ulsh / KERA News

Denton made history Tuesday night, becoming the first city in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. The vote passed 59 percent to 41 percent, to the surprise of even the supporters of the ban.

Kovalchynskyy Mykola / Shutterstock

Five stories that have North Texas talking: a couple from Nashville choose an unusual venue for their wedding, the outcome of the Denton fracking ban vote may not be the end of legal debate, the Dallas Zoo sells off naming rights for a newborn giraffe, and more.

An Unvarnished Interview With T. Boone Pickens On Plunging Oil Prices

Oct 30, 2014
Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Crude oil prices are plunging, but T. Boone Pickens isn’t surprised. The billionaire oilman has seen plenty of spikes and dips during more than 60 years in the industry, including some he predicted.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

There’s been an uptick in early voting in Denton, as much as 6,000 compared to the last mid-term election, and many say it’s because of a proposal to ban fracking within city limits. The city that sits on top of 500 square miles of valuable gas reserves could become the first Texas town to prohibit hydraulic fracturing.

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