On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act into law.  The Act is the first significant change to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act in 40 years and amends the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) methods for reviewing chemical substances before they are marketed and allowed to be used in consumer products.

The Act has several new key features:
Continue Reading Toxic Substances Control Act Revised for the 21st Century

On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, a sharply divided Ohio Supreme Court held in a 4-3 decision that Ohio local governments do not have authority to enact certain local zoning ordinances restricting hydraulic fracturing. The Court found that an Ohio statute regulating oil and gas well production operations that gives state government “sole and exclusive authority” to regulate such operations does not allow for a municipality to impose its own permit requirements on oil and gas drilling operations.

The Court found that Ohio’s home rule authority does not allow a municipality to “discriminate against, unfairly impede, or obstruct oil and gas activities and production operations.” Accordingly, the local ordinances at issue were found to conflict with the state regulatory scheme.  Justice Judith L. French authored the Supreme Court’s lead opinion, stating that “[t]his is a classic licensing conflict under our home-rule precedent.”  “We have consistently held that a municipal-licensing ordinance conflicts with a state-licensing scheme if the ‘local ordinance restricts an activity which a state license permits.’”  The opinions further states that the state, not local governments, has the “right to regulate ‘all aspects’ of the location, drilling, and operation of oil and gas wells, including ‘permitting relating to those activities.’” 
Continue Reading Ohio Supreme Court Invalidates Local Fracking Restrictions