The decision has led several oil and gas lawyers to note that the same could happen in other parts of the US where state legislation makes a state regulatory agency the primary body for the regulation of oil and gas.
The ruling, Northeast Natural Energy v The City of Morgantown, concerns procedures put in place by Morgantown City Council on 7 June to enact an ordinance prohibiting hydraulic racking within the city limits and within a one mile radius around them.
Oil and gas company Northeast Natural Energy, which has been granted two drilling permits within the one mile radius by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, challenged the ban claiming it violated West Virginia's state laws on natural gas extraction.
The company argued that state regulations promulgated by the Department of Environmental Protection superseded - or pre-empted to use the correct US legal term - the city's ordinance and precluded its enforcement.
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