Justia Energy, Oil & Gas Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of Ohio
In re Application of Alamo Solar I, LLC
The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the Ohio Power Siting Board approving two large solar farms that were proposed to be built in Preble County, holding that the Board's order was neither unlawful nor unreasonable.The General Assembly authorized commercial solar farms in Ohio but made their construction conditional on the Board's approval. The Board approved the solar farms after its staff agreed to stipulations imposing a number of conditions on the construction and operation of the facilities. Certain citizens appealed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that there was nothing unlawful about the Board's adherence to its own regulations and that the Board did not act unreasonably in making the determinations required by Ohio Rev. Code 4906.10(A). View "In re Application of Alamo Solar I, LLC" on Justia Law
Wildcat Drilling, LLC v. Discovery Oil & Gas, LLC
In this discretionary appeal brought by Discovery Oil and Gas, LLC to determine whether an express indemnification provision in its contract with Wildcat Drilling, LLC evinced a clear intent by the parties to abrogate the common-law notice requirements for indemnification set forth in Globe Indemnity Co. v. Schmitt, 53 N.E.2d 790 (Ohio 1944), the Supreme Court held that the requirements announced in Globe Indemnity did not apply.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) when the parties have entered into a contract containing an express indemnification provision, the common-law notice requirements set forth in Globe Indemnity do not apply, and the parties are bound by the terms of their contract because the provision evinces a clear intent by the parties to abrogate the common law; and (2) the language of the contract in this case evicted the parties' clear intent to abrogate the common-law notice requirements for indemnification. View "Wildcat Drilling, LLC v. Discovery Oil & Gas, LLC" on Justia Law
In re Application of East Ohio Gas Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approving a stipulation that authorized Dominion Energy Ohio to implement its capital expenditure program rider (CEP Rider), holding that the Commission's orders were not unlawful or unreasonable.Dominion filed an application to recover the costs of its capital expenditure program by establishing the CEP Rider at issue. Dominion and the Commission jointly filed a stipulation asking the Commission to approve the application subject to the staff's recommendations. The Commission modified and approved the stipulation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not violate an important regulatory principle in adopting the 9.91 percent rate of return; (2) the Commission did not inconsistently apply its precedent; (3) the Commission did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 4903.09; and (4) Appellants' manifest-weight-of-the-evidence argument failed. View "In re Application of East Ohio Gas Co." on Justia Law
Stingray Pressure Washing, L.L.C. v. Harris
The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the judgment of the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) that some of Taxpayer's equipment used in fracking was subject to Ohio's sales and use tax, holding most of the equipment at issue was exempt from taxation.While Ohio law generally exempts from taxation equipment used direction in oil and gas production not everything in the production of oil and gas qualifies for the exemption. After Taxpayer purchased equipment for use in its fracking operations the tax commissioner issued use-tax assessments, one for each piece of equipment. The commissioner then canceled about half the assessments. The BTA affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed in part, holding that equipment consisting of blenders, hydration units, chemical-additive units, t-belts, and sand kings are tax exempt. View "Stingray Pressure Washing, L.L.C. v. Harris" on Justia Law
In re Application of Firelands Wind, L.L.C.
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Ohio Power Siting Board authorizing Firelands Wind, LLC to construct, operate, and maintain a wind farm in Huron and Erie Counties, holding that the nineteen nearby residents and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory that brought this appeal (collectively, Appellants) have not established that the Board's order was unlawful or unreasonable.On appeal, Appellants challenged the Board's determination that the wind farm satisfies the statutory requirements for constructing a major utility facility, asserting, among other things, that the project could kill birds and create excessive noise for residents near the wind farm and that the Board improperly failed to follow its administrative rules. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board's order was neither unlawful nor unreasonable. View "In re Application of Firelands Wind, L.L.C." on Justia Law
Ohio Public Works Commission v. Village of Barnesville
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals concluding that use and development and alienation restrictions in a deed applied to both the surface and subsurface of the properties at issue in this case and that the village of Barnesville violated the restrictions when it transferred oil and gas rights to another entity without obtaining written permission from Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC), holding that there was no error.The village received two grants to finance the purchase of two properties for conservation projects. The OPWC brought this action claiming that the village violated transfer and use restrictions in the deeds for the properties at issue by transferring oil and gas rights to another entity, which leased those rights to Gulfport Energy Corporation, without obtaining the OPWC's permission. The court of appeals granted judgment in favor of OPWC. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the court of appeals correctly determined that the village violated the use and development restrictions when it transferred oil and gas rights without OPWC's written consent. View "Ohio Public Works Commission v. Village of Barnesville" on Justia Law
In re Application of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Ohio Power Siting Board to approve the application of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc. for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to build a six-turbine wind-powered electric-generation facility in Lake Erie, holding that Appellants did not meet their burden of demonstrating that the Board's decision was against the manifest weight of the evidence.Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) there was sufficient evidence in the record before the Board for it to determine the nature of the probable environmental impact of the project under Ohio Rev. Code 4906.10(A)(2) and whether the project represented the minimum adverse environmental impact under Ohio Rev. Code 4906.10(A)(3); and (2) the Board did not err in determining that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the residents' public-trust argument. View "In re Application of Icebreaker Windpower, Inc." on Justia Law
Senterra, Ltd. v. Winland
In this appeal from a judgment of the Seventh District Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that Ohio's Marketable Title Act (MTA), Ohio Rev. Code 5301.47 et seq., applied to an oil and gas interest that had been severed from its surface property.Senterra, Ltd., the owner of the surface property at issue in this case, sought to quiet title to the disputed one-quarter oil and gas interest in its favor, urging the Court to apply the deed-interpretation rule of equity set forth in Duhig v. Peavy-Moore Lumber Co., 144 S.W.2d 878 (Tex. 1940) (the Duhig rule). The heirs to the oil and gas interest argued, in response, that the Duhig rule was inapplicable and that the MTA applied and gave them marketable record title to the interest. The trial court granted summary judgment to Senterra. The Seventh District reversed, ruling that the Duhig rule was inapplicable and that the MTA applied. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the oil and gas interest retained by the heirs was not subject to the Duhig rule; and (2) the heirs' interest was preserved under the MTA. View "Senterra, Ltd. v. Winland" on Justia Law
Fonzi v. Brown
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgments of the court of appeals reversing the trial court's decisions in these two cases consolidated for appeal, holding that owners of the surface rights to land did not comply with the requirements of the Dormant Mineral Act, Ohio Rev. Code 5301.56, in seeking to have mineral interests in that land deemed abandoned.Plaintiffs filed complaints for declaratory judgment and seeking to quiet title, alleging that the surface owners had failed to exercise reasonable due diligence in attempting to locate holders of the mineral interests before commencing the abandonment process. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants in both cases. The court of appeals reversed in both cases, ruling that Defendants' searches were unreasonable and that they had failed to comply with the relevant notice requirements. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Defendants failed to exercise reasonable diligence in these cases. View "Fonzi v. Brown" on Justia Law
French v. Ascent Resources-Utica, LLC
The Supreme Court held that an action seeking a determination that an oil and gas lease has expired by its own terms is a controversy "involving the title to or the possession of real estate" so that the action is exempt from arbitration under Ohio Rev. Code 2711.01(B)(1).Appellants brought an action for declaratory judgment alleging that oil and gas leases between the parties had terminated because Appellee failed to produce oil or gas or to commence drilling operations within the terms of the lease. Appellee moved to stay pending arbitration. The trial court denied the request, concluding that Appellants' claims involved the title to or the possession of real property, and therefore, were exempt from arbitration under Ohio Rev. Code 2711.01(B)(1). The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding the trial court correctly declined to stay the action in this case pending arbitration. View "French v. Ascent Resources-Utica, LLC" on Justia Law