Who will control gas and oil drilling in Ohio was the central question Wednesday as the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in a Summit County case that could have major ramifications across the state.
The arguments were short, and heavy questioning from the justices dominated the 49-minute hearing in the case that pits the city of Munroe Falls against Beck Energy Corp. of Ravenna.
Several justices appeared troubled that local communities have no say on drilling and that no appeal of state permitting decisions is possible.
Justice William O’Neill asked whether Ohio’s regulatory structure violates communities’ constitutional home-rule protections, while Justice Paul Pfeifer said an inability for cities to challenge state-issued drilling permits gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources god-like power.You can read much more about this here.
If one had to make a guess based on the reported tone of the proceedings and the results of similar cases in other states, one would have to think that the ruling will come down in favor of allowing communities to create hoops for drillers to jump through in transparent attempts to stop drilling in their area.
What effect would such a decision have on Utica shale drilling activity and its related economic impact on the area? It's hard to say exactly, but it can't be good for it.
Those that claim everyone in Ohio is on the verge of being murdered by the oil and gas industry's wanton destruction of the land and water of the state would be very happy, though.
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