Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Texas House passes more legislation to prevent cities and towns from banning fracking

House lawmakers in Texas "took another swipe at the Denton fracking ban Monday by approving legislation to bar cities from holding an election on citizen petitions that would restrict a person’s use of their mineral or other private property rights for economic gain," Marissa Barnett reports for The Dallas Morning News.

Denton residents voted to ban fracking during the November 2014 election, becoming the first town in the state to do so. Last month the House passed a bill by a 122-18 vote to ban any ordinance that prohibits an oil and gas operation.

Monday's legislation, which passed by a 105-29 vote, "would likely prohibit cities from taking up referendum like the one in Denton because such petitions would restrict the use of mineral rights," Barnett writes. The legislation, which now goes to the Senate, has been criticized by environmentalists, "who argue it could also bar cities from taking a vote on the placement of a landfill or reservoir."

Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), the bill’s sponsor, "said the legislation would not restrict voters’ rights to ban things such as plastic bags or smoking in particular areas," Barnett writes. "The measure would also not prevent a city from enacting any ordinance." Keffer told Barnett, “It’s just a protection of someone’s property . . . It does not affect the ordinance power of any city. It’s just that the city does it [regulates] through ordinance power, not through referendum.” (Read more)

No comments: