On March 3, the Court of Appeals of Ohio for the Eighth Appellate District confirmed what the Supreme Court of Ohio made clear more than a year ago: a local government cannot prohibit shale development authorized by permit issued by the State of Ohio. See State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corp., No. 2015-Ohio-485 (Feb. 17, 2015). Nonetheless, in Mothers Against Drilling in Our Neighborhood v. State (MADION), a community group challenged the voidance in a separate decision of the “community bill of rights” anti-fracking ordinance it had sponsored. For now, it is enough to say that the Court of Appeals did not buy the MADION’s (creative) argument that the citizens of Broadview Heights have a right to self-government, distinct from local government, that falls outside the preemption analysis applied in Morrison. The result is yet another Ohio court confirming as unlawful ordinances that ban shale gas development or impose regulations that are inconsistent with, or additional to, those imposed by the State. This does not mean, however, that local governments will halt their efforts to limit or regulate shale gas development. These efforts, particularly as they concern the “community bill of rights” ordinances at issue in MADION, will be discussed further in a forthcoming post.
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