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Dallas just banned all fracking

Too often Texas is held up as a state of ridicule. Sure, there are some real charmers there that also sometimes end up as America's most disastrous president, but then you also get events like the good sweet people of Dallas enacting a quiet ban on all fracking.

Did Dallas Just Ban Fracking? | ThinkProgress

The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to require any gas wells to be placed at least 1,500 feet from homes, a move that the gas industry says might as well be a ban on drilling. Combined with the fact that the council would still have to approve any permit for a drilling site, factoring in neighborhood impact, fracking opponents are calling the ordinance a victory as well. A two-thirds council vote would be needed to alter the setback requirement in particular cases.

Fossil fuel companies have been trying drill on land leased in Dallas since 2007. The city sits on the eastern edge of the Barnett shale, which is less productive than the rest of the highly-lucrative western portion. But Dallas has yet to approve a drilling permit in town, and the new setback requirement is likely to make new wells even less likely.

The fossil fuel industry site Energy In Depth quickly called Dallas’ ordinance a dishonest backdoor ban on fracking, noting that in Fort Worth, where the setback requirement is 600 feet, “development has safely occurred for many years.” But a look at Fort Worth residents’ experience with drilling shows why neighboring Dallas would want stricter requirements. Sickening vapors, ruined neighborhoods, and wells as close as 300 feet to homes are the legacy of Fort Worth’s lax approach to fracking regulation.

Nearby Arlington, Texas allows fracking inside of city limits, and has attempted to mitigate negative effects on residents by building sound-dampening walls around operations. But much of the danger of fracking comes from what it does to air and water.

There’s no evidence that even 1,500 feet is enough to prevent chemical leakage into drinking water. A 2012 Duke University study found that homes within one kilometer, or 3,280 feet, of hydraulic fracturing wells had six times the methane and 23 times the ethane of homes not near wells. And an Earthworks report included video of toxic chemicals like benzene escaping into the air at drilling sites.