American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 17

healthcare, pensions, and good wages,
for more than six months." r

Ohio's Top Court Keeps
Anti-Industry Measures
Out of Voting Booths
COLUMBUS, OH.-Feelings of déjà
vu from the Ohio Supreme Court's
decision to reject anti-development
activists' push to expand local
governments' ability to oversee oil and
gas activities may be because it has
happened before.
"Not only has the Supreme Court
spoken on this issue, but now it has
repeated itself: these are not valid
charters," reflects Ohio Oil & Gas
Association Director of Public
Relations Mike Chadsey. "In the past
five years, there have been more local
control attempts in Ohio than in any
other state."
In a 6-1 opinion issued in midSeptember, Ohio's top court affirmed
decisions by local election boards and
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to
reject proposed ballot measures in
Athens, Meigs and Portage counties.
Chadsey notes that almost identical
charter measures failed to qualify for
the ballot in 2015.
Medina County also sought to revisit
a charter initiative that ended with the
same defeats in another decision.
Chadsey says those proposals sought to
turn the counties' local governments
into charter systems, which would
attempt to expand their abilities to exert
authority over oil and gas development
within their boundaries.
He adds that most of the local boards
of elections voted unanimously to keep
the measures off their ballots, but
backers appealed to Husted, who then
concurred that the measures were
invalid. In another instance, a local
board deadlocked, which automatically
put the question before Husted, who
answered in the negative. The measures'
backers, which include the Community
Environmental Legal Defense Fund,
then appealed to the Ohio Supreme
Court.
Déjà vu may be even stronger in
Youngstown, Oh., where charter-style
governance lowers the bar that measures
must clear to make it to the ballot,
Chadsey notes. A ballot initiative will
appear in 2016, although voters already
have rejected it five times.
He indicates that a ballot issue in the
city of Waterville, Oh., in Lucas
County, nearly identical to the one in

Youngstown, also aims to exert more
local control of oil and gas, which he
says is arguably nothing more than a
symbolic gesture. "Lucas County is as
far away from shale gas development as
one can get in Ohio," Chadsey
describes. "It's like trying to ban surfing
in Ohio." ❒

Commonwealth Court
Rules Against PIOGA
In Act 13 Challenge
WEXFORD, PA.-In a 5-2 ruling on
Sept.1, the Pennsylvania
Commonwealth Court denied a
challenge by the Pennsylvania
Independent Oil & Gas Association to
environmental regulators' continued use
of provisions of Act 13 that were
declared invalid and unenforceable by
the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's
December 2013 decision in Robinson
Township v. Commonwealth.
The Supreme Court majority had
determined that Section 3215(b)(4) of
the comprehensive 2012 oil and gas law,
which authorized waivers from statutory
setbacks from wetlands and certain
bodies of water on submission of an
alternative plan to protect such waters,
was unconstitutional. Nearly all the
other portions of Section 3215 also were
enjoined in the court's ruling because
they were declared inextricably linked as
part of the permit decisional process to
the stricken portion, PIOGA explains.
PIOGA challenged the Department
of Environmental Protection's
continued application of two of the
invalidated provisions-Section 3215(c)
and (e)-to consider impacts of oil and
gas wells on certain public resources
and to impose conditions to mitigate
harmful impacts as part of the
permitting process. The association
emphasized that the public resources
identified in Section 3215(c) were
protected adequately by other statutes
operators had to satisfy.
The Commonwealth Court majority,
however, agreed with the DEP's
argument that Section 3215(c) stood
alone from the portions of Section 3215
struck down by the Supreme Court.
"DEP's authority under Section 3215(c)
to consider the impact that a proposed
well will have on public resources,
those listed and unlisted, is extant,
limited only by the portion of the
Supreme Court's mandate . . . that
enjoins its application and enforcement
with respect to the water source setback
and waiver provisions set forth in

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OCTOBER 2016 17


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016

Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover1
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Cover2
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - Contents
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 4
American Oil and Gas Reporter - October 2016 - 5
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