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Beck Energy filed a mandamus action in the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking to vacate a stop work order issued by Munroe Falls to halt work on the Sunoco well.   Beck Energy seeks a declaration that:

“The Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution, Article XVIII,Section 3, does not allow Munroe Falls to enact a zoning ordinance that discriminates against, unfairly impedes, and obstructs oil and gas activities and production operations that the state of Ohio expressly permits and regulates under R.C. Chapter 1509.”

According to the complaint, the zoning ordinances prohibit drilling in 99.06% of the city’s territory.

The Ohio Supreme Court previously held that City of Munroe Falls’ ordinances requiring drillers to get a conditional zoning certificate, pay a deposit for a performance bond, hold a public hearing and a wait a year before drilling were preempted by State law regulating drilling.  State of Ohio ex rel.  Beck Energy, Supreme Court of Ohio case no. 2015-1019.  However, this was a plurality opinion.   The concurrence expressed that whether a zoning ordinance is necessarily in conflict with State oil and gas laws is an open question.  By filing this lawsuit, Beck Energy appears to be seeking a clear answer as to whether municipalities can use zoning ordinances to prohibit drilling.

Read the complaint

Athens News: Will Ohio communities be allowed to zone out fracking?

See our prior post: State Oil and Gas Law Preempts Munroe Falls Drilling Ordinances in Split Ohio Supreme Court Opinion

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