Protests over fracking in Denton prompt arrests

Protestors have twice tried to block the entrance of fracking operations in Denton this week.

They say they're trying to enforce a local ban that state lawmakers have essentially undone.

Police arrested three people Tuesday morning and three others Monday for refusing to move away from the entrance of a fracking operator's property.

Vantage Energy announced it would resume fracking work in Denton after Gov. Abbott signed House Bill 40 into law.

It restricts local bans on hydraulic fracturing, saying only the state can regulate below-ground oil and gas operations.

With the passage of House Bill 40, Denton says it can't enforce a local fracking ban that Denton voters passed in November.

The city council now has to decide whether it will look for ways to continue the fracking ban fight or step back and formally repeal its ban.

Mayor Chris Watts says he's not sure what the council will do in the face of two lawsuits and a new state law.

"You work hard for those issues you're passionate about and to see them taken away at a level that really doesn't give you much control in your community, I can understand the frustration," said Watts.

It's not clear what options the council really has.

Protestors say they're working on ideas to continue the fight.

At Denton City Hall on Tuesday night, the public had its say for the first time since a state law rendered the ban powerless.

Vantage Energy, the company that has started fracking again in Denton, says it wants to be a good neighbor in Denton, emphasizing that it's following other drilling rules Denton has in place, including giving the city more than 48 hours' notice of intent to begin fracking.


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