Today, Representative Terry Canales (D-40th) introduced HB3403, the “Protect Our Children Act” to grant municipalities the power to govern oil and gas operations within 1,500 feet of a school or daycare. In 2015, HB40 effectively removed municipalities’ power to govern the oil and gas industry within their boundaries in favor of the state Railroad Commission and Texas Council on Environmental Quality.
Austin, TX - Today Texas Governor Abbott signed HB 40 into law. Written by former ExxonMobil lawyer Shannon Ratliff, the statute forces every Texas municipality wanting common sense limits on oil and gas development to demonstrate its rules are “commercially reasonable”. It effectively overturns a Denton ballot initiative banning fracking that passed last November.
“HB 40 was written by the oil and gas industry, for the oil and gas industry, to prevent voters from holding the oil and gas industry accountable for its impacts,” said Earthworks’ Texas organizer Sharon Wilson. Wilson, who played a key role in the Denton ballot initiative, continued, “It was the oil and gas industry’s contempt for impacted residents that pushed Denton voters to ban fracking in the first place. And now the oil and gas industry, through state lawmakers, has doubled down by showing every city in Texas that same contempt.”