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A small Texas hamlet north of Dallas has become the first municipality in the state to ban fracking, pitting a town located where fracking was perfected against the powerful energy industry. Voters in the university town of Denton approved a ban on November 4 which took effect Tuesday.

The ban could be a test case for other cities around the country that want to ban fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, which injects a brew of water, sand and chemicals into rock to release hydrocarbons. The practice is the linchpin of a surging energy industry in the United States, but it has been linked to a host of environmental issues, including causing earthquakes. Denton's ban has been challenged by the Texas Oil and Gas Association, which has asked a district county court to declare it invalid and unenforceable. On Monday, Denton's attorneys filed a legal brief that called fracking a "public nuisance," according to The Texas Tribune. Included among the nuisances, the lawyers said, are "noise, increased heavy truck traffic, liquid spills, vibrations and other offensive results.”

Denton is located amid the Barnett Shale, a formation rich with natural gas. While fracking has been in practice since the 1940s, energy companies have honed their expertise of the technique in the Barnett Shale formation.


-- NBC News staff