Robin Schneider, Executive Director of Texas Campaign for the Environment, made the following statement regarding Gov. Greg Abbott’s approval of HB 40, the state pre-emption of local sovereignty over oil and gas operations in Texas cities:

“Texans communities face new threats with fewer protections because of the power grab signed into law by Gov. Abbott today, HB 40. Abbott made his political name by fighting what he saw as the centralization of power in Washington, but he has grabbed more power for bureaucrats in Austin and Texas cities and towns are the big losers. This was a bipartisan failure of leadership, with politicians from both parties putting the whims of big lobbyists ahead of the interests of their constituents.

“One would think that dangerous situations at fracking wells in urban communities that had Texans fleeing their homes in Arlington and Denton in April and May would have given pause to the politicians. You would think that when scientists are getting more clarity about the connections between fracking and disposal wells with swarms of earthquakes, state politicians would want to provide higher levels of protection for people’s homes and families.  Instead of acting to provide more safeguards for Texans living near oil and gas operations, they have proceeded to strip Texas cities of their ability to put meaningful safeguards in place.

“Texas voters will have the chance to hold these elected officials accountable in March and in November, and we look forward to educating them about where their lawmakers stood when Texas lives were on the line.”