Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to prevent municipalities from banning hydraulic fracturing in a move that was expected after the city of Denton last year approved a referendum to prohibit fracturing in its city limits.
The law does allow cities to regulate above-ground activity, such as drilling setbacks, but it leaves jurisdiction of underground activity up to state regulators.
In 2014, the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Oil & Gas Association sued the city of Denton over its ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing in the city limits. Those lawsuits remain pending.
Denton, which sits atop the Barnett shale, became the first Texas city to ban hydraulic fracturing.