Residents in the Cuyahoga County community of Broadview Heights have overwhelmingly approved a charter amendment that prevents gas drilling in the city’s limits.
The measure was added to the ballot by a petition circulated by anti-fracking group Mothers Against Drilling In Our Neighborhoods.
But Broadview Heights Mayor Sam Alai says don’t expect the ban to actually stop any drilling in the city. In fact, he says the ban could lead to potential lawsuits.
Alai: “The state regulates what goes on in gas and oil drilling. Now that we have something on our books, our charter, that says there should be no gas and oil drilling in the future, that is in direct conflict with the state law. And if we try to stop a gas and oil driller from drilling in the city, they would potentially most likely sue the city.”
House Bill 278, signed into law in 2004, gives the Ohio Department of Natural Resources the sole authority to regulate the permitting and location of oil and gas wells. That law trumps any local control ordinances in city charters that prohibit drilling.
Alai says he doesn’t plan to repeal the measure.
Broadview Heights already has 90 oil and gas wells. Most of those tap into the Clinton Sandstone, a different mineral source than the Utica Shale garnering attention further east.