An Anti-Fracking Texas?

The fracking rebellion has finally spread to The Lone Star State. Citizens of Denton have had enough with environmental woes from fracking close to homes and gathered signatures. Plus: the outcome of litigation against Colorado 's first fracking ban.

July 28, 2014, 9:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

Voters in Denton, pop. 121,000, will decide in November "whether the city will become the state’s first to ban fracking. But passage of a ban would probably trigger another fracking fight: a legal clash over a city’s power to regulate for health and safety and the rights of mineral owners to develop their resources," writes Jim Malewitz, energy reporter for The Texas Tribune. His article also appears in The New York Times. 

The ban's proponents, led by an organization called the Denton Drilling Awareness Group, call it a last-ditch effort to address noise and toxic fumes that spew from fracked wells just beyond their backyards, after local drillers have refused to comply with the city’s existing regulations. 

Malewitz writes that proponents gathered "nearly 2,000 signatures on a petition calling for a ban on fracking, opponents forced the City Council to vote on it. Council members rejected the proposal last week, leaving the decision to voters...The outcome could reshape Texas law at a time when drilling is causing tension in some of its urban areas."

Speaking of local initiatives to ban fracking, we have yet another update from The Centennial State where the energy industry has been on a winning streak since voters in four Front Range cities approved bans last November. The first city to ban fracking in Colorado was Longmont in Nov. 2012. However, the energy industry immediately sued with support from the state. 

Alan Neuhauser, energy and environment reporter for U.S. News & World Report, reports that "the judge struck down the fracking ban (July 24th), saying it created an 'irreconcilable conflict' with the state's interest in regulating and developing its oil and gas resources."

This latest blow to fracking opponents comes after voters in Loveland defeated a fracking ban initiative last month, a first, and a statewide initiative to enable local bans was dropped due to lack of signatures, though two may still qualify for November.

Post Addendum: This is our second post on Denton, the "best college town in Texas". In 2011, the city council "approved a traffic safety ordinance to assert the rights of the road for cyclists and other vulnerable road users," writes former Planetizen editor Tim Halbur.

Sunday, July 27, 2014 in The Texas Tribune

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

San Francisco Houses

‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters

As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.

May 15, 2022 - The Hill

Downtown Dallas

Short-Term Rentals Vex Dallas City Council

Residents complain that vacation rentals exacerbate the city’s housing shortage and bring traffic and noise to residential neighborhoods, calling on the city to impose—and enforce—stricter regulations.

May 17 - The Dallas Morning News

Traffic Safety Advocates

Traffic Fatalities Set Records as Pandemic-Era Road Carnage Shows No Signs of Stopping

An estimated 42,915 people died in automobile crashes in 2021, according to recent federal data. The increasing fatalities continue a trend that began with the outset of the pandemic.

May 17 - National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Driver Shortage Undercuts the Potential of L.A.’s Recent Bus System Redesign

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority implemented a complete overhaul of its bus system in three waves over the course of 2021. A shortage of drivers for the system has made it impossible to implement that vision.

May 17 - TransitCenter

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.