On November 06, 2012, voters in Broadview Heights, a suburb of Akron, amended the city’s charter to include a “Community Bill of Rights” (the “Amendment”) that prohibited any future oil and gas drilling within the city. An exploration and production company obtained a drilling permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for a well within the city but was told that the city would enforce the Amendment. Therefore, the exploration and production company challenged the city’s ban, arguing that the Amendment was preempted by Ohio Revised Code Chapter 1509, which, among other things, established the ODNR as the “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate the permitting, locating, and spacing of oil and gas wells in Ohio. Judge Michael Astrab agreed, writing “reasonable minds could come to only one conclusion: [the Amendment] is preempted by [Chapter 1509].”
The court’s decision closely tracked the Ohio Supreme Court’s opinion in Morrison. Under Ohio law, a municipal ordinance is preempted by a state statute if:
- the ordinance is an exercise of police power, rather than of local self-government;
- the statute is a general law; and
- the ordinance is in conflict with the statute.
This post was written by Joshua Snyder (email@example.com or +1 724 416 0432), Jeremy Mercer (firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 724 416 0440) and Michael Gaetani (email@example.com or +1 724 416 0429) from Norton Rose Fulbright's Energy Practice Group.