First municipal fracking ban takes effect in Texas

A drilling rig used for hydraulic fracturing is trucked across a water hose at a drill site Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. The drilling method known as fracking uses huge amounts of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
A drilling rig used for hydraulic fracturing is trucked across a water hose at a drill site Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. The drilling method known as fracking uses huge amounts of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

DENTON, Texas (AP) — The state’s first fracking ban has taken effect in Denton, a North Texas city located over a large natural gas reserve.

Voters passed the ban last month.

An industry group and the state’s General Land Office responded quickly with lawsuits seeking an injunction in District Court to stop it from being enforced.

A court battle could determine whether any city in Texas can rebuff the oil and gas industry and still thrive.

Denton’s City Council has pledged to defend the ban.

Bolstered by oil and gas companies, the ban’s opponents raised nearly 20 times more than supporters.

But a University of North Texas analysis found that only a fraction of Denton homeowners own the minerals beneath their properties. In Texas, mineral rights and surface rights are separate.

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