First Challenge to Local Fracking Ban in Ohio Moves Forward

Bass Energy Inc. and Ohio Valley Energy Systems Corp. are suing the city of Broadview Heights, claiming that only the state of Ohio has the authority to prohibit the drilling of future wells. According to Ohio.com,  “The suit is the first of its kind in Ohio with drillers challenging local charter amendments and votes under home rule that ostensibly give communities the authority to ban drilling and hydraulic fracturing or fracking.”

In 2004, the state legislature voted to cede control of gas wells and drilling to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, a move that Cleveland.com reports “said varying and inconsistent laws among communities throughout the state were an economic burden to drillers and delayed the start of drilling projects.”

County court Judge Michael Astrab set a deadline of August 7 for the Broadview Heights to respond to the suit.

Simultaneously, arguments have concluded in another case would clarify the issue of home rule in fracking battles and potentially shift Ohio legal precedent to support local bans. As the HBW Fracking Report explains:

“In February 2014, the Ohio Supreme Court heard arguments in Munroe Falls v. Beck Energy in which the city of Munroe Falls argues that it retains the right under the state’s constitution to regulate oil and gas activities. Several cities submitted amicus briefs in support of Munroe Falls’ position. The outcome of this litigation could dramatically affect the amount and severity of local ordinances.”