AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Cities and counties statewide could no longer prohibit hydraulic fracturing under a sweeping, oil and gas industry-backed bill that has cleared the Texas Legislature.
The proposal was easily approved by the Senate on Monday after passing the House last month. It now heads to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk for signature into law.
Legislators moved quickly after Denton voted in November to impose a local fracking ban amid environmental and safety concerns. That ordinance is now being challenged in court.
Conservatives say the new restrictions are needed to prevent a patchwork of drilling laws across Texas.
But the issue has been among the most contentious in Abbott’s first legislative session. The governor has stayed clear of the debate, but has criticized local governments for “overregulation.”