Denton, Texas City Council approves moratorium on oil and gas drilling permits

On May 6, 2014, in a 7-0 unanimous vote, the City Council of Denton, Texas approved an extension of its moratorium on oil and gas drilling permits until September 9, 2014, in order to allow the city to re-work and improve its gas well ordinances by adding provisions for notice to landowners of hydraulic fracturing activities, clustering of wells, and requiring companies to pay a bond and provide certification of insurance .

The moratorium applies to the receipt, processing and approval of gas well permits and specific use permits in Denton. Operators would be allowed to continue extracting gas from the approximate 275 wells currently in the area, and there is a process for oil and gas companies to seek a variance from the moratorium.

The day after the City Council meeting, the anti-fracking group Denton Drilling Awareness delivered a petition signed by more than 1,800 citizens to ban hydraulic fracturing. Upon certification, the City Council has 60 days to have a hearing and vote on the proposed ban. If voted down, the ban would appear on the November 2014 ballot. Also the group wants more protections incorporated into the city’s oil and gas ordinances, including prohibitions on open pits, compressor stations, and flaring as well as required notification to area residents of the presence of near-by wells and the possibility of hydraulic fracturing activities.

View the discussion and vote of the Denton City Council (go to 01:51:07 on the video)