Now a law: Texas measure makes local oil regulation illegal (with NPR audio)

“To these folks I say, ‘Ride your horse to work every day.'”
-Todd Staples, President, Texas Oil and Gas Association

Texas Governor signs bill banning local bans
It’s finally happened. Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a law barring Texas cities from regulating oil and gas drilling, effectively ending a voter-approved fracking ban passed last November by the city of Denton.

House Bill 40 prohibits cities from enacting any ordinance “that bans, limits, or otherwise regulates an oil and gas operation within its boundaries or extraterritorial jurisdiction.”

According to bill sponsor Representative Drew Darby, only the Texas Railroad Commission (the Texas equivalent of the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation) can regulate oil and gas drilling in Texas. The law “expressly preempts” cities from doing so.

The reason why this is important to us in Montana is that the Texas law is the first salvo in a nationwide effort by the oil and gas industry to take away the rights of landowners by blocking their rights to regulate what happens in their own communities. According to the Wall Street Journal, “similar efforts are cropping up in New Mexico, Colorado, Ohio and Oklahoma”.

It makes sense for local communities to establish rules like setbacks from residences. Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

It makes sense for local communities to establish rules like setbacks from residences. Photo: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

It is essential for Montanans to act now to protect their rights by enacting local legislation to make sure that any oil drilling is done as safely as possible.

The oil industry’s brazen disregard for landowner rights is summed up in this recent story from NPR, entitled New Texas measure makes local fracking bans illegal. In the story, which you can listen to below, Todd Staples, president of the Texas Oil and Gas Association, comments, “You know, I think we have people in our nation and even in Texas that are really just anti-oil and gas. And they would like to see that production stopped. To those folks, I say, ride your horse to work every day.”

Some industry’s are just disdainful of the rights of communities.

You can listen to the NPR story below.

Previous posts on the fracking ban and Texas politics:
Lessons from Tuesday’s election, November 6, 2014
Denton, Texas lawsuit: Lessons for the Beartooth Front, December 1, 2014
A personal story: Cathy McMullen, Denton, Texas, December 5, 2014
Texas legislature seeks to undermine Denton fracking ban, April 23, 2015
Beware: The oil and gas industry has a national game plan to limit local regulation of drilling, April 29, 2015
Editorial: Fracking bill sets dangerous precedent (with video), May 18, 2015

About davidjkatz

The Moses family has lived on the Stillwater River since 1974, when George and Lucile Moses retired and moved to the Beehive from the Twin Cities. They’re gone now, but their four daughters (pictured at left, on the Beehive) and their families continue to spend time there, and have grown to love the area. This blog started as an email chain to keep the family informed about the threat of increased fracking activity in the area, but the desire to inform and get involved led to the creation of this blog.
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