POLITICS
05/18/2015 09:12 pm ET Updated May 20, 2015

Texas Governor Prohibits Cities And Towns From Banning Fracking

LOST HILLS, CA - MARCH 24:  A pump jack and frac tanks stand in field being developed for drilling next to a farm over the Mo
LOST HILLS, CA - MARCH 24: A pump jack and frac tanks stand in field being developed for drilling next to a farm over the Monterey Shale formation where gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is on the verge of a boom on March 24, 2014 near Lost Hills, California. Critics of fracking in California cite concerns over water usage and possible chemical pollution of ground water sources as California farmers are forced to leave unprecedented expanses of fields fallow in one of the worst droughts in California history. Concerns also include the possibility of earthquakes triggered by the fracking process which injects water, sand and various chemicals under high pressure into the ground to break the rock to release oil and gas for extraction though a well. The 800-mile-long San Andreas Fault runs north and south on the western side of the Monterey Formation in the Central Valley and is thought to be the most dangerous fault in the nation. Proponents of the fracking boom saying that the expansion of petroleum extraction is good for the economy and security by developing more domestic energy sources and increasing gas and oil exports. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

HOUSTON May 18 (Reuters) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday signed a bill into law that prohibits cities and towns from banning an oil drilling practice known as hydraulic fracking, giving the state sole authority over oil and gas regulation.

Lawmakers in Texas, a state that is home to the two of the most productive U.S. shale oil fields, have been under pressure to halt an anti-fracking movement since November, when voters in the town of Denton voted to ban the oil and gas extraction technique.

"This law ensures that Texas avoids a patchwork quilt of regulations that differ from region to region, differ from county to county or city to city," Abbott, a Republican, said in a statement.

In fracking, a mixture of pressurized water, sand and chemicals is directed at rock to unlock oil and natural gas. Operators say it is safe because, but many environmental groups oppose the practice, calling it wasteful, polluting, dirty and noisy.

Fracking was pioneered at the Barnett shale natural gas formation in north Texas where Denton is located. Most of the crude output in Texas comes from fracked wells in the Eagle Ford and Permian fields to the south and west. (Reporting by Anna Driver and Terry Wade; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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