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Residents, Business Groups Have Mixed Reaction To Fracking Ruling By Ohio Supreme Court

The Ohio Supreme Court’s decision that local communities can’t use zoning ordinances to keep out oil and gas drillers has many speculating on what it might mean for the future.

The oil and gas industry says the decision shows local bans are largely pointless, because they conflict with the state’s permitting process. But Dick McGinn, who helped pass a ban in Athens, says bans are based on residents’ civil rights. 

“If we have to go to court on this, the industry and the state will have to argue that we have no rights,” he said.

Several business groups supported the drilling industry’s arguments, including the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber of Commerce.  Spokesman Guy Coviella said he feels the decision will stop a fifth ballot attempt to ban fracking. 

“This ruling supports our position that it should not be on the ballot again – it’s very costly for us to be on the ballot for us,” Coviella said.

Bans have passed in Broadview Heights in suburban Cleveland, Mansfield, Oberlin and Yellow Springs.