A potentially pivotal case in Ohio’s continuing debate over whether local communities can ban or zone oil and gas drilling activities hit a wall at the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday.This article can be read in its entirety by clicking here.
The high court dismissed without comment a complaint for mandamus (court order) filed by Beck Energy of Ravenna, Ohio, against the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls. The lack of explanation by the Supreme Court, though not at all unusual, makes it difficult to interpret the significance of the decision, though it definitely didn’t favor the oil and gas industry.
Beck, the lead plaintiff in a landmark Ohio case involving local oil and gas regulations, Morrison (Munroe Falls) vs. Beck Energy, sought an order from the Ohio Supreme Court stating that Munroe Falls cannot use its zoning ordinance “to prohibit drilling for oil and gas in 99.06 percent of the city’s territory.”
The recent debate over Ohio cities and counties’ efforts to ban or regulate oil and gas drilling, fracking and/or waste disposal has mainly involved proposed community bill of rights that assert an innate right of local citizens to pass laws to protect their environment.
So far, those efforts haven’t had much luck with Ohio courts, including the highest one, the Supreme Court. The courts have backed up state officials and the oil and gas industry’s contention that only the state, not local government, has the authority to regulate oil and gas.
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