Voters in Denton, Texas approved a ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on Tuesday, making the city the first in Texas to outlaw the controversial gas-extraction process.
Think Progress reports: On Tuesday, voters in Denton, Texas, banned fracking within the city limits by a large margin of 59 to 41. The first such restriction in energy-giant Texas, Denton has been a hotly contested site for the industry and one of eight locales with fracking bans on the ballot this election.
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A city of about 125,000 residents located 35 miles northwest of Dallas, Denton sits atop the Barnett shale and already has some 275 fracked wells.
“Hydraulic fracturing, as determined by our citizens, will be prohibited in the Denton city limits,” Mayor Chris Watts said in a statement, “the City Council is committed to defending the ordinance and will exercise the legal remedies that are available to us should the ordinance be challenged.”
Texas is the nation’s biggest oil and gas producer, and the vote shows that even cities in the heart of fossil fuel territory can take action to slow the industry. Those who voted for the ban worry about water and air pollution, the heavy demand for water, and the possibility that the process causes earthquakes. Researchers recently found alarming amounts of heavy metals such as arsenic in groundwater near fracking sites in Texas.
While the ban is likely to garner legal challenges, for now at least, supporters can celebrate the landmark vote in the state famous for oil and gas development.