The North Texas city of Denton sits atop one of the largest natural gas reserves and could become the first Texas city to ban hydraulic fracturing.
Opponents worry the process of extracting oil and gas is hazardous to residents' health and call it a violation of property rights.
Denton has had a temporary ban on fracking since 2012 but will consider permanently banning it in the next two months. Denton City council has the next 60 days to vote on the issue.
"Unless you implement a ban on all hydraulic fracturing you’re not going to get at the real problem," said Adam Briggle with the Denton Drilling Awareness Group.
Briggle’s group collected thousands of signatures to have the city council vote on banning all fracking within Denton city limits. He said fracking is the only industrial use that is permitted in every category use of land, including residential areas.
"You have situations where an industry that uses known toxic and carcinogenic chemicals is situated, in our case 250 ft. from homes, and the drilling process that can emit heavy diesel fumes can go on day and night,” Briggle said.
Some of the fracking companies operating in Denton say they would consider the ban a violation of property rights, which would likely lead to a lawsuit. But Briggle has a different view on the matter.
“The thing of property rights is that they come with the compensatory obligation of respecting other people’s property rights," Briggle said. "And so you have an industry here that is abusing other people’s property rights in accessing their property and they are doing so by harming and reducing surrounding property values, but more importantly by invading people’s bodies and homes with toxins.”
Briggle said even if the city council measure fails, those living in Denton will still have a chance to vote on the fracking ban during the November general election. With a temporary moratorium the city still has over 275 fracking wells operating throughout the city.