Texas governor Greg Abbott. Image courtesy of GovAbbott/Flickr.

After months of debate Texas governor Greg Abbott signed a bill Monday prohibiting local governments from banning hydraulic fracturing.

The bill, known as HB 40, prevents city governments from banning hydraulic fracturing and also makes it more difficult for local officials to impose their own oil and gas regulations.

According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, HB 40 requires that local regulations be “commercially reasonable” and “allow a reasonably prudent operator to fully, effectively, and economically exploit, develop, produce, process, and transport oil and gas.”

Governor Abbott said the bill will help streamline energy production by ensuring regulations are similar throughout the state.

“This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city,” Abbott said.

The bill was initially proposed in response to an attempt by the North Texas city of Denton to enact a local fracking ban last year.

The Texas Oil and Gas Association filed suit shortly after Denton voters approved the ban, calling the rule unenforceable and invalid.

The Texas General Land Office also filed suit against the city, arguing that local fracking bans can threaten state royalty revenues used to fund public education.

“HB 40 strikes a meaningful and correct balance between local control and preserving the state’s authority to ensure that regulations are even-handed and do not hamper job creation,” Abbott added.


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