Denton sued over fracking ban ordinance

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The Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil and Gas Association sued the city of Denton over its new ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing in the city limits.

Commissioner Jerry Patterson, head of the state agency that oversees state-owned lands on behalf of Texas public schools, filed suit in Travis County Wednesday morning. The association also filed Wednesday morning in Denton district court.

In its lawsuit, the association seeks an injunction to block the city from enforce the fracking ban. Patterson and the land office seek an injunction only after judgment.

City officials have said they will canvass the election on Nov. 18, with the ban scheduled to take effect about Dec. 2.

Denton became the first Texas city to ban hydraulic fracturing Tuesday after a citizen-driven proposition cruised to a landslide victory at the polls. Final returns showed the fracking ban passing by a whopping 59-41 percent margin.

Voters in two California counties and the city of Athens, Ohio, also approved fracking bans on Election Day. But the current boom in shale oil and gas production began in Denton and Wise Counties, so the local proposition over the rights of a Texas city to police what happens within its borders pushed it into the national spotlight. 

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC. 

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