Heather Beyer

STOW: The city’s Public Improvements Committee proposed legislation Monday that would request the state return control of the placement of oil and gas wells to municipalities.

The committee voted to put the legislation on Thursday night’s regular council agenda for a vote.

Under Ohio law, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has sole discretion on the location and permitting process for drilling of oil and gas wells. An appeals court, in deciding a case from Munroe Falls, recently upheld the state’s authority.

Stow Law Director Brian Reali said the city’s current legislation does not directly affect the natural gas well at the Church of New Hope.

“It is more or less a response to the consequences of exclusive state control. Many people, including myself, see the importance of drilling, energy independence and economic development,” Reali said. “The current system under Ohio law takes all control away from local governments regarding this type of urban drilling.”

In November, Pursie E. Pipes Drilling Co. activated a natural gas well on the property of the Church of New Hope. The company confirmed that month the well has been horizontally fractured and is ready to collect gas.

Reali said the legislation is asking that some control be given back to municipalities.

“If local residents don’t want a well in their suburban neighborhood, they should have a say in the matter. That is all we are asking. Let the residents, through their local representatives, have some control over this,” Reali said.

Heather Beyer can be reached at hmbeyer@aol.com.