On August 13, 2015, Ohio Secretary of State, Jon Husted, rejected three proposed county charter petitions from the Boards of Elections in Athens, Fulton, and Medina counties. The Secretary of State determined these charter proposals to be invalid in part because of a violation of the Ohio Constitution. Therefore, they were removed from the November 2015 election ballots in these three counties.
The three counties’ charter petitions attempted to give more control to the counties by including a ban on oil and gas development within the counties’ limits. In a letter to the County Boards of Elections, the Secretary of State ruled that local governments do not have power to supersede state regulations and declared “that is exactly what the restrictive "fracking-related" provisions of these charter petitions propose to do.”
Previously in February 2015, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution does not grant local government the power to regulate oil and gas development within their boundaries, State of Ohio ex rel. v. Beck Energy Corporation. Also on July 1, 2015, the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas dismissed a suit against the state of Ohio concerning the preemption of local drilling regulations, Mothers against drilling in our neighborhoods, Inc. v. State of Ohio.
Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow