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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Home Rule Still a Very Murky Issue in Ohio

From Crain's Cleveland Business comes a guest article by Heidi Gorovitz Robertson, who is the Steven W. Percy Distinguished Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law and also Professor of Environmental Studies with the Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University.

Here is a portion of what she had to say about the issue of Beck Energy and Munroe Falls and what the Ohio Supreme Court's handling of the matter tells us:
The Ohio Supreme Court decision Ohio cities were anticipating — or dreading — has not come to pass. 
Cities and towns were hoping to learn whether their local zoning rules would hold up against efforts to install oil and gas wells. Would the Supreme Court of Ohio find zoning codes incompatible with the state oil and gas statute, and strike them down as applied to oil and gas wells? Or would the court uphold the right of cities to enforce their zoning codes, even as they apply to the drilling of oil and gas wells? 
Well, we still don’t know. 
Remember Munroe Falls and Beck Energy? In February, the Supreme Court of Ohio gave us a case known as “State ex rel Morrison v. Beck Energy.” There, the court addressed the city of Munroe Falls’ attempt to prevent Beck Energy from drilling an oil and gas well in Munroe Falls because Beck Energy had failed to comply with several Munroe Falls’ ordinances. The court held that a Munroe Falls zoning ordinance and four related ordinances conflicted with the Ohio oil and gas law. That case told us that local jurisdictions’ ordinances would be struck down if they conflict with the state oil and gas statute. 
That was no surprise, but it left local jurisdictions wondering what, if anything, they could do to control or influence drilling that might take place within their boundaries.
Read the rest of this article by clicking here.

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