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Local options in challenging oil and gas companies

September 26, 2016

By the Beacon Journal Editorial Board

September 25, 2016

Opponents of the oil and gas industry in Ohio recently have suffered stinging defeats in the courts. In Medina County, landowners seeking to block the Nexus Pipeline lost a fight to keep surveyors off their property. Meanwhile, charter government initiatives in Meigs, Portage and Athens counties aimed at stopping hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, were blocked from the November ballot.

The legal battles represent understandable frustration with the lack of local control over drilling, waste disposal and the construction of pipelines. In Ohio, state law controls oil and gas drilling and related activities, plus surveying pipeline routes. (The actual routing of interstate pipelines falls into the province of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.)

In each case, the citizen groups collided with solid, well-reasoned interpretations of state law. In the Medina County case, homeowners argued that surveyors should not be allowed on their property unless the land was being appropriated. In a 3-0 ruling, the 9th District Court of Appeals found no such requirement, Ohio law plainly requiring homeowners to provide the necessary access for surveying.

Read the article.