Ohio court sets arguments in closely-watched drilling case

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COLUMBUS (AP) -- The Ohio Supreme Court has scheduled arguments in a closely-watched lawsuit that challenges the state's authority to supersede local zoning laws with centralized regulation of oil and gas drilling.

The case brought by Munroe Falls, an Akron suburb, against Beck Energy Corp. will be argued Feb. 26.

It centers on a Beck project that began on private property in 2011 with state permission.

In the process, the city contends the company sidestepped 11 local laws on road use, permitting and drilling.

Both foes and supporters of drilling are watching the case.

Its outcome could prevent or allow cities to enact local drilling bans, which has implications for the spread of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Beck's well was traditionally drilled, but Ohio's state regulatory program oversees both well types.

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