The Ohio state government's mantra on oil and gas regulation could be paraphrased as "Columbus knows best," but the powers of local governments to shape shale drilling in their jurisdiction have been a staple in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania provides Ohio a contemporary example of what can happen if townships retain the ability to set rules about how drillers operate inside their boundaries.
That local ability to direct oil and gas zoning in Pennsylvania was to be erased with the April enactment of Act 13, a comprehensive oil and gas law that mirrors Ohio's in its state-control philosophy. However, the enactment of Act 13 has been delayed as its powers face a legal challenge by a group of townships. In the interim, local control lives on.
Under Ohio law, roads are about the only rulemaking territory left to the locals, but conditional use permitting in Pennsylvania allowed for more. Those powers have promoted the "good fences" axiom in some instances and have been just another ingredient to increase inter-township strife in others.The article goes on to consider the varying local viewpoints of energy companies and how the attempts of local officials to regulate shale development have affected the communities. Read the rest here.
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