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26-story mixed-use tower planned at Taylor & Fifth in downtown Fort Worth

Jetta Operating Co., a 24-year-old privately held oil and gas company in Fort Worth, and a related entity plan a 26-story mixed-use tower downtown at Taylor and Fifth streets on a site once owned by the Star-Telegram.

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UPDATE: Six candidates file for two Water Board seats

Six candidates have filed for the two open seats on the Tarrant Regional Water Board, setting up a battle that could potentially shift the balance of power on the board and the priorities of one of the largest water districts in Texas.

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Fort Worth breaks ground on $8.6 million South Main renovation

Fort Worth Near Southsiders and city officials broke ground Monday on the 18-month rebuild of South Main Street between Vickery Boulevard and West Magnolia Avenue.

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Fort Worth Chamber names Small Business of the Year winners

A trampoline recreation business; an oilfield services company; a longtime aviation maintenance firm; a maker of electrical wiring harnesses. Those were the wide variety of businesses that received the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

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Body-camera maker has financial ties to former Fort Worth police chief, others

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices, raising a host of conflict-of-interest questions.

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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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