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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ohio Supreme Court Rules That Home Rule Drilling Ban Violates State Law

Art-Deco-Ohio-Supreme-Court-Building-who by homesower, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic Licenseby  homesower 
For months both anti-drilling and pro-drilling groups have eagerly awaited the Ohio Supreme Court's ruling in a landmark case regarding local municipalities' right to restrict oil and gas drilling where it has been permitted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Yesterday the court ruled in favor of drillers in the battle between Munroe Falls and Beck Energy, by a 4-3 margin.

   
From Cleveland.com:
But in her majority opinion, Justice Judith French wrote that the Munroe Falls regulations, which were enacted between 1980 and 1995, clashed with a 2004 law enacted by the General Assembly that provided for general statewide regulation of oil and gas drilling. 
"This is a classic licensing conflict under our home-rule precedent," French wrote in her opinion. "We have consistently held that a municipal-licensing ordinance conflicts with a state-licensing scheme if the local ordinance restricts an activity which a state license permits." 
Munroe Falls' regulations, she wrote, "prohibit -- even criminalize -- the act of drilling for oil and gas without a municipal permit," negating the state's authority to regulate drilling. The state statute, though, provides that it, not municipal authorities, shall have sole authority "to regulate 'all aspects' of the location, drilling, and operation of oil and gas wells," she noted. 
"Article II, Section 36 vests the General Assembly with the power to pass laws providing for the 'regulation of methods of mining, weighing, measuring and marketing coal, oil, gas and all other minerals.'" French wrote. "With the comprehensive regulatory scheme in [the regulatory statute], the General Assembly has done exactly that." 
The scope of home-rule authority, and the ability of the General Assembly to limit it, has sparked several court battles in recent years. Several times the Supreme Court has upheld the state's authority to trump local regulations and ordinances.
Read more by clicking here.

It will be very interesting to see the ramifications of this ruling as shale development moves forward in Ohio.

Below you can read the opinion that was issued in the case.




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