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Barnett Shale Town Institutes Drilling Ban

The Bartonville, TX, Town Council on March 30 instituted a 90-day moratorium on new permits related to natural gas drilling and production.

The ordinance stipulates that no applications will be accepted for drilling, hydraulic fracturing or other introduction of chemicals into the ground. However, Ordinance 515-11 does allow the council to grant waivers.

According to the ordinance, "the town has determined that current regulations...may be inadequate to prevent new development from being detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the town and that time is needed in order to determine and gather sufficient evidence in order to consider the harmful effects of hydraulic fracking and gas drilling within the town limits..."

Bartonville is in Denton County in the heart of the Barnett Shale region. The town's population is about 1,600.

The ordinance also authorizes an ad hoc committee consisting of two council members, two representatives from the gas industry, two residents, and a third person with knowledge of natural gas production or who works for a state or federal agency. As authorized by the Texas Local Government Code, the council has the option to renew the moratorium for one additional 90-day period after conducting a public hearing.

A quorum of five council members was present with Carla Anderson, Jim Ferrell, and Bill Reaves voting to adopt the ordinance. There were no votes against the ordinance. Council members Gracie Egan and James Ashburn, after having each submitted a conflict of interest statement, abstained from voting.

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