Friday, June 21, 2013

Ohio Supreme Court Accepts Lawsuit Challenging State's Monopoly On Oil, Gas Drilling Oversight

The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to review a lawsuit questioning whether local municipalities can regulate oil and gas drilling within their borders.  By accepting the case, the justices could pass judgment on state statute that gives the Department of Natural Resources' oil and gas division sole authority to oversee energy drilling.  Ravenna-based Beck Energy Corp. filed the suit against the city of Munroe Falls after city officials issued a stop-work order on a well because the company lacked local permits for drilling, zoning, and rights-of-way construction.

A trial court ruled in favor of the city, but the Ninth District Court of Appeals overturned that decision in February.   The appeals court decision said the case appears to be an issue of first impression, meaning it's a question of law with no controlling precedent.  The Ohio Supreme Court voted 6-1 to accept the case, according to a court announcement. Justice Terrence O'Donnell was the lone "no" vote.

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