Well pad in winter

For a third time this year a judge has overturned a local municipality’s ban on oil and gas production. A Cuyahoga County, Ohio judge yesterday overturned a ban on oil and gas production within the county, billed as a “community bill of rights,” saying the measure was clearly preempted by the State of Ohio’s regulatory authority of oil and gas operations. The judge held that while under home rule provisions, communities have self-determination, they cannot preempt state powers.

“We’re happy to hear of yet another defeat for groups that call for blanket bans on responsible energy production,” said David Holt, president of Consumer Energy Alliance. “We have long said that simply saying ‘NO’ to energy production at the local level is irresponsible, and runs counter to established legal norms.”

The defeat of the measure in Broadview Heights is the third defeat of local regulation or bans in recent months, and the second such defeat of the so-called “community bill of rights” concept promoted by an anti-energy group called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). The first defeat of the concept came in January in Mora County, New Mexico, which passed the ordinance at the urging of the CELDF.

“By banning oil and gas production, communities not only limit their economic potential and expose their budgets to needless legal costs, they undermine U.S. energy self-sufficiency and security. American cities, towns and counties can do better when it comes to balancing property rights with local resident concerns. Communities across Ohio, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico and other states have demonstrated that we can have responsible energy production AND the protection of local residents and their environment.

“For decades, states have shown that they have the technical knowledge and wherewithal to effectively regulate oil and gas production.  Local control ordinances simply create a patchwork quilt of rules that could be different from city to city, making it impossible for business to function. Towns like Broadview Heights should work to bring all parties together rather than passing initiatives with dubious legality that are often based on a one-sided view of the facts.  Protecting the environment AND creating jobs is something we all support, and that is the proper standard that state governments are in the best position to measure,” said Holt.