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Ohio Supreme Court Rejects Municipal Ordinances Regulating Oil and Gas Operations

The Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling in favor of Beck Energy, holding that Ohio Constitution’s home rule amendment does not allow a municipality to enforce its own oil and gas permitting scheme on top of the state system. In the case, the city of Munroe Falls adopted an ordinance prohibiting the drilling of an oil and gas well until a conditional zoning certificate had been obtained. The ordinance also required payment of additional application fees and the posting of a performance bond. The Ohio General Assembly had adopted a uniform statewide regulation of all oil and gas operations in Revised Code Chapter 1509. The Court held that the Ohio Constitution vests the General Assembly with the power to to pass laws providing for the “regulation of methods of mining, weighing, measuring and marketing coal, oil, gas and all other minerals” and the comprehensive regulatory scheme created by the General Assembly does exactly that. The home rule amendment to the Ohio Constitution does not allow a municipality to discriminate against, unfairly impede, or obstruct oil and gas activities and production operations that the state has permitted under R.C. Chapter 1509.