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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Court Decisions in Home Rule Cases Still Leave Question Marks for Ohio Towns

From Midwest Energy News:
Almost three weeks after Ohio’s top court struck down a town’s restrictive drilling ordinances, lawyers and local officials are predicting another round of court cases to settle how much control local governments have over oil and gas development. 
The state Supreme Court ruled that the Akron-area town of Munroe Falls could not require Beck Energy Corp. to get separate drilling permits, finding that only the state can issue drilling permits. But it left open whether cities can use zoning to control where drilling happens, and whether the outright drilling bans in some towns can continue to stand. 
In the weeks following the highly anticipated decision, attorneys have rushed to interpret how and when that issue will be decided. Will Ohio follow in the footsteps of New York and Pennsylvania, which have preserved some local powers over drilling; follow Colorado and Texas, which have taken a harder line; or chart a new path? 
“We’ve reached the first fork in the road, and it appears that the Ohio Supreme Court has generally decided which path they’re going to take: Legitimate local zoning regulations are unlikely to be wholly pre-empted,” BakerHostetler attorney Ryan Babiuch said. “There will be a new wave of litigation that could flesh that out.”
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