Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Unlike Tex. and Okla., officials in some states try to reverse or block local limits on drilling

Local officials in Texas often restrict drilling within city limits, and state officials and people in the oil and gas industry are accustomed to that and have few complaints about it. But in other states, "State officials are banding together with the oil and gas industry to head off the kind of local regulation that routinely happens in Texas with little fanfare," Mike Soraghan of Energy and Environment News reports.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is suing the city of Longmont, Colo., just north of Denver, to reverse its ban on drilling in residential neighborhoods. Longmont residents voted to approve the ban earlier this month. In Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett blocked two towns from restricting drilling through revision of zoning laws. In both states, industry representatives say that restricting drilling differently from town to town makes drilling more difficult because without uniformity across the state, drillers will have to change the way they drill on a case by case basis.

But in places like Texas and Oklahoma, where drilling has existed for decades and localities have enacted bans within city limits with little pushback, "Lack of uniformity hasn't pinched development," Soraghan reports. Some cities in Oklahoma "flat-out ban" drilling, Soraghan writes, but this has had very little effect on drilling in the state. (Read more)

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