Ohio justices to hear local drilling rules dispute

Gas severance tax prediction may be too high.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Attorneys are ready to argue before Ohio’s high court whether state laws regulating oil and gas drilling can trump local restrictions on the practice.

The case being heard Wednesday before the Ohio Supreme Court was brought by the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls.

It involves a well that Beck Energy Corp. began to drill with state permission on private property in the city in 2011. The city contends the company sidestepped 11 local laws on road use, permitting and drilling in the process.

The legal question is whether Beck’s state-issued permit could pre-empt Munroe Falls’ regulations.

Pro- and anti-drilling forces believe the case could set a national legal precedent on local laws restricting drilling, particularly hydraulic fracturing. Beck’s well was traditionally drilled, not fracked.

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