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Environment


Broadview Heights drilling battle is brewing
A driller says he's applying to the state for a permit despite a city law that forbids
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Voters passed a drilling ban in November 2012
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In The Region:

A driller from Stark County says he’ll go ahead with plans to drill wells in Broadview Heights, despite a ban that voters passed in 2012. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the burgeoning battle between pitting home rule against state control.

LISTEN: Drilling fight in Broadview Heights

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Broadview Heights voters passed a community bill of rights two years ago that promises a certain quality of life and bans drilling beyond the roughly 80 wells the city already had.

About a third of those wells belong to a company called Gonzoil. Gonzoil Treasurer Frank Gonzalez declined to be recorded, but he explained his position. He says:

 

  • Huge fracking interests have made drilling in rural eastern Ohio too expensive for the little guy, so he’s doing business in communities where he’s done business for decades.
  • His well is like hundreds drilled on schools and other properties over the last two decades.
  • He met state requirements by leasing more than 20 acres.
  • State law says only the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has control over oil and gas drilling.

 

But Tish O’Dell, who helped lead the fight to get the Broadview Heights fracking ban passed, maintains that law is unjust. 

“In a democracy, it should be what the people want in our community and not someone else from out of the community coming in and telling us what we have to do when it affects our health, our safety and our property values.” 

Meanwhile, the Ohio Supreme Court is considering an attempt by another Northeast Ohio city – Monroe Falls -- to limit drilling via zoning laws. It maintains that home-rule provisions of the state Constitution guarantee cities some authority over drilling.

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