DENTON, Texas, July 17 (UPI) -- The city of Denton could become the first in Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing outright after officials said the issue should be decided on the November ballot.
Denton officials decided in a 5-2 vote not to issue a ban themselves and, in a unanimous decision, opted to put the matter before the voters on a Nov. 4 ballot.
Mayor Chris Watts said the city, which sits on top the Barnett shale play in Texas, is frustrated by a legacy of hydraulic fracturing in the area. City Councilman Kevin Roden, who supports the ban, said there was no foresight in regards to the concerns over the drilling practice when it began 15 years ago.
There are more than 250 active gas wells in a city with just over 120,000 residents. At the end of 2013, Barnett shale was in the top tier in terms of production from shale basins in the United States.
A high court decision in New York to give local communities the power to decide on gas drilling ordinances sparked uproar across the industry. Roden said he anticipates a similar reaction if voters support the ban.
"If we pass the ban, or the citizens do, we will see the wrath of the industry and it will be costly," he said.