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Fracking Bill Gets Tentative OK from Texas House

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Eddie Seal/Texas Tribune
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A bill that would override local fracking bans in Texas was tentatively approved by members of the House on April 17, 2015, with a vote of 122 to 18.

A bill that would override local fracking bans in Texas was approved by members of the House, after several hours of debate. 

The bill is aimed at blocking cities from banning activities like hydraulic fracturing. Last year, voters in the city of Denton approved a ban on fracking in their city limits.

State Rep. Drew Darby, a Republican from San Angelo and the bill's author, says it’s intended to preserve the state government’s right to regulate oil and gas activity.

"This state depends upon the oil and gas industry. Forty percent of our economy is based upon the oil and gas industry and we need to protect that," Rep. Darby said. 

The bill would give cities the right to regulate what happens above ground, like traffic and emergency response issues, but State Rep. Sylvester Turner, a Houston Democrat, said Darby’s bill would lead cities and oil or gas companies to fight each other in court.

"I am indicating to you in the most respectful way I know how that that creates unnecessary litigation," Turner said. 

The House passed the measure 122 to 18, but it still needs a final vote before going over to the Senate. 

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