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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Home Rule Case in Ohio Supreme Court Continues to Draw Attention

From The Leader:
A closely watched lawsuit in Ohio is asking a question that's burning in cities and towns throughout shale country: Can regulations in states eager for the jobs and tax revenues that come with gas and oil drilling trump local restrictions that communities say protect them from haphazard development? 
The case was brought by Munroe Falls, an Akron suburb of 5,000. It involves a well that Beck Energy Corp. began to drill — with the state's permission — on private property in the city in 2011. In the process, the company sidestepped 11 local laws on road use, permitting and drilling, the city contends. 
The legal disagreement over whether Beck's permit can pre-empt Munroe Falls' local regulations reached the Ohio Supreme Court this summer. Both pro- and anti-drilling forces are watching the case because it's further along in the courts than similar lawsuits in other states and the outcome could encourage or deter the implementation elsewhere of local laws to limit drilling. 
The case has implications for the spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the controversial method of injecting sand, water and chemicals to free the gas from shale rock deep underground. The case in Munroe Falls centers on a traditionally drilled well, but the centralized oil and gas regulation that's in question regulates both kinds.
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