Earlier this morning, Judge Paul Gallagher denied Munroe Falls’s Motion for Temporary Restraining Order that sought to stop Beck Energy from drilling an oil and gas well within the city’s limits without first obtaining a conditional zoning certificate. Judge Gallagher heard testimony and arguments from counsel for the City of Munroe Falls and Beck Energy before denying Munroe Falls’s Motion citing the recent decision from the Ohio Supreme Court in State ex rel. Morrison v. Beck Energy Corporation, in which the Court held the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has the “sole and exclusive authority to regulate the permitting, location and spacing of oil and gas wells and production operations” within Ohio. The Morrison decision explicitly reserves for the state, to the exclusion of local governments, the right to regulate “ ‘all aspects’ of the location, drilling and operation of oil and gas wells, including permitting relating to those activities.”
Munroe Falls filed its most recent lawsuit against Beck Energy claiming that it had the right to require Beck Energy to obtain a conditional zoning certificate prior to commencing the drilling of the Sonoco oil and gas well. On June 16, 2016, Beck Energy obtained a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the Sonoco oil and gas well and now intends to proceed with commencing drilling. Beck Energy, through its counsel, has asked Judge Gallagher to grant summary judgment in its favor. The motion is currently pending.
The denial of the Temporary Restraining Order is in accord with the State of Ohio’s public policy encouraging oil and gas development in the state and recognizes the stable, uniform, and comprehensive system for regulating oil and gas drilling adopted by the state legislature.
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