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Texas: Denton Ordinance Could Violate State Law

Upstream Conventional & Unconventional Onshore Development

Proposed amendments to the natural gas drilling ordinance in Denton could conflict with state laws governing oil and gas permitting. The amendments may change the terms of a company’s natural gas drilling permit, a move that is prevented by Texas’ local government code in order to allow companies to accurately estimate the total cost of a project. Additionally, the amendments could make wells in Denton’s extra territorial jurisdiction subject to the new changes. The Denton City Council is also considering changes to an ordinance that would concentrate the number of wells on a site in order to reduce surface impacts. Changes to the ordinance would limit the use of other sites once an “optimal site” is selected for new wells. In addition to increased inspections, insurance increases and requirements for homeowner notification, the ordinance would also make new sites to undergo a separate zoning process that would need to comply with Denton’s existing 1,200-foot setback requirement. Meanwhile, the city is preparing to defend its ban against costly legal challenges from mineral rights owners and the Texas General Land Office.

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