Across the country there is a trend of communities placing bans on Hydraulic Fracturing or “fracking.” These bans are spreading like wildfire. However, many of the bans protect individual cities or counties so there is in effect a quilt pattern being created of areas that are available for drilling and areas that are not.
Individual towns in the Otsego county of New York are passing bans one by one. Some of the bans are temporary in order to research or regulate the drilling others intend on being permanent. In New York specifically companies have asked the appellate courts to consider if these bans are legal, one appellate court has upheld the bans passed by towns and now the appeal has been brought to a higher court this time.
The votes that are establishing the bans are nowhere near unanimous, leaving some hope for the opponents that once a safer process from start to finish is found there is potential for regulations to be put in place to allow the drilling and fracking to continue. The citizens want to know they are safe and not at risk while these oil companies are coming in and getting rich on their land with no visible regard to the harm being done locally.
In Texas, Dallas has recently passed an “effective ban” to “bar hydraulic fracturing within 1,500 ft. of a home, school, church, or other protected areas.” According to RT.com. The original ban was 300 ft. so this increase does ban most drilling within the city due to the close confines in most areas. Some concerned citizens consider this a blunder as there is such a rush for the oil right now, they are worried that the oil companies are going to pass them by. But again the fear for the health and unstudied repercussions of fracking has solidified the law for now.
Illinois is also regulating fracking. They have a new Hydraulic Fracturing Regulatory Act and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is currently hosting informative meetings around the state to allow citizens a chance to voice their vote before finalizing the regulations. Citizens of the state can voice their opinion in writing through January third, then the comments will be submitted for review to the Legislative Joint Committee for a 45 day period before the rules can be adopted according to the Hearld & Review (Decantur, Ill.)
Other areas of the country have banned fracking as well. The states with counties or cities banning fracking or restricting it also includes Hawaii, Ohio, and Colorado to name a few. A more complete list of cities and counties that have banned fracking can be found at keeptapwatersafe.org.