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Moves by Jeb Bush add to talk of 2016 candidacy

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush's decision to release a policy-laden e-book and all his emails from his time as governor of Florida has further stoked expectations among his allies that he will launch a presidential bid.

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Ebby Halliday acquires Fort Worth’s Williams Trew

Williams Trew Real Estate of Fort Worth has been acquired by Dallas-based residential real estate brokerage Ebby Halliday Real Estate Inc.

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Fort Worth businessman to lead Abbott, Patrick inauguration efforts

Fort Worth businessman Ardon Moore will chair the committee running inauguration festivities for Gov.-elect Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov.-elect Dan Patrick in January, it was announced on Friday.   Moore, president of Lee M. Bass Inc. in Fort Worth, is a vice chairman of the University of Texas Investment

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Meridian Bank Texas parent acquired by UMB Financial for $182.5M

Kansas City, Mo.-based UMB Financial Corp., the parent company of UMB Bank, said Dec. 15 it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Marquette Financial Companies in an all-stock transaction.

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Cousins Properties to sell 777 Main tower in downtown Fort Worth

Cousins Properties Inc. has confirmed plans to sell the 777 Main office tower in downtown Fort Worth, according to a news release from the Atlanta-based real estate investment firm.

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New York top court OKs local gas-drilling bans

MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's top court handed a victory to opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas Monday by affirming the right of municipalities to ban the practice within their borders.

The state Court of Appeals affirmed a midlevel appeals court ruling from last year that said the state oil and gas law doesn't trump the authority of local governments to control land use through zoning.

The two "fracking" cases from two central New York towns have been closely watched by drillers hoping to tap into the state's piece of the Marcellus Shale formation and by environmentalists who fear water and air pollution.

Both sides are still waiting to see whether a statewide moratorium on fracking in effect since July 2008 will be lifted.

The court in a 5-2 decision stressed that it did not consider the merits of fracking, but only the "home rule" authority of municipalities to regulate their land use. The court said the towns of Dryden and Middlefield both acted properly.

"The towns both studied the issue and acted within their home rule powers in determining that gas drilling would permanently alter and adversely affect the deliberately-cultivated, small-town character of their communities," according to the majority ruling by Judge Victoria Graffeo.

Fracking frees gas from deep rock deposits by injecting wells with chemical-laced water at high pressure. It has helped boost U.S. oil and gas production to the highest level in more than a quarter-century, but has mobilized environmentalists alarmed at its rise.

Drilling opponents say more than 170 towns have passed bans or moratoriums. Another 40 towns have passed resolutions supporting gas development.

The state has its own 6-year-old moratorium on fracking for gas. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he won't decide whether to lift the ban until a health impact review launched in 2012 is completed. There's no timetable for the review.

The group New Yorkers Against Fracking renewed its call on Cuomo to enact a permanent statewide ban in light of the high court decision, saying "water and air contamination don't stop at local boundaries."

The Dryden ban was challenged by a trustee for Norse Energy, an Oslo, Norway-based company that went bankrupt after amassing thousands of leases on New York land it was never able to develop. The Middlefield ban was challenged by Cooperstown Holstein, a dairy farm that had leased land for drilling.

In his dissent, Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. argued that the local ordinances, which touch on areas like storage and productions materials, are so broadly written they create "a blanket ban" on the industry.

"The zoning ordinances of Dryden and Middlefield do more than just regulate land use, they regulate oil, gas and solution mining industries under the zoning," he wrote.
 

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Did the College Football Playoff Committee get it right?