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City council approves gas drilling ordinance for Denton

City council approves gas drilling ordinance for Denton

Protesters "stand in solidarity" during the city council meeting to protest gas drilling in Denton County yesterday. Fifteen people were escorted from the meeting because of unruly behavior. Photo By Aimee Pass/Staff Photographer

City council approves gas drilling ordinance for Denton
January 16
00:10 2013

After meeting for more than five hours Tuesday night, the Denton City Council voted 5-1 in favor of the Gas Well Drilling and Production Ordinance.

The Denton City Council faced more than 100 audience members as the fifth revision to the Gas Well Drilling and Production Ordinance was discussed.

“So many of our city council meetings have about five people in the audience. Its not often that local government picks up hot topic items,” council member Kevin Roden said. “It’s a matter of justice, it’s a matter of rights, no matter where you stand, you get fired up about it.”

Denton Gas Well Administrator Darren Groth outlined the revisions made to the ordinance since the Dec. 18 meeting.

Groth also answered the questions posed by council members, which focused heavily on how machinery will affect water and air quality.

He insisted that the new ordinance includes the identical restrictions on pollutant levels as found in the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Green Completion.’

City attorney Anita Burgess said the pipeline company is a public entity, and therefore cannot be regulated by the city council.

“The issue becomes the city’s regulation of an entity, which still has eminent domain in authority,” Burgess said. “The pipeline company is a public utility.”

More than 30 attendees chose to speak out against the implementation of “fracking” in Denton and each were allotted three minutes to talk directly to the council.

Fifteen in opposition did not abide by the three-minute rule in an act of protest and were escorted out of the meeting.

Theater sophomore Tyler Carlton attended the meeting as a protestor with the Denton County Democratic Party.

“I think the ordinance is very weak as it stands,” Carlton said. “I have a feeling city council is not really listening to us.”

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