Texas Governor Signs Law to Protect Fracking Companies from Municipalities
In a move to protect oil and gas companies operating within the state of Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a law that prohibits cities and towns from banning hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”
The law also makes it next-to-impossible for municipal and county governments to dictate where drilling equipment and production rigs can be set up, according to a May 18 Wall Street Journal article.
In November, the city of Denton, about 50 miles northwest of Dallas, passed a ban that would prevent fracking production rigs from operating locally. The law angered state officials and oil and gas industry groups, the latter of whom threatened litigation.
Similar laws prohibiting local fracking bans have been passed in states like New Mexico, Ohio, Colorado and Oklahoma. All these laws are part of a larger effort to limit local governments’ ability to regulate fracking within their jurisdictions.
Fracking is a process that sends high-powered blasts of water, sand and chemicals into the earth to break apart shale deposits and extract the natural gas stored beneath. It has proven to be a major powering force behind the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and represents 8% of the country’s economy.
It’s estimated that as many as 95% of all new wells are drilled using hydraulic fracturing, according to Department of Energy data. Shale production in particular has been projected to reach 13.6 trillion cubic feet by 2035, making up 50% of all natural gas production in the U.S.
With laws that protect oil and gas companies’ fracking efforts, these predictions will undoubtedly be an accurate snapshot of hydraulic fracturing’s future.
What are your thoughts on Gov. Abbott’s decision to prevent municipalities from banning frac work? Will this help keep frac trailers and production rigs in operation throughout the state? Share what’s on your mind by leaving a comment below.