The Niles City Council unanimously voted three weeks ago to ban oil and gas drilling within city limits. Now it’s ready to rescind the ordinance.

“I’m seriously considering bringing up rescinding it,” said Councilman Steve Papalas told a local newspaper..

Shawn Bennett from Energy In Depth, an oil and gas industry group, said the Niles ban violates a state law that reserves authority for granting well permits solely to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The ordinance is modeled on the Community Bill of Rights, an anti-drilling bill adopted by a number of municipalities to block drilling in general and extraction from shale using the hydraulic fracturing method or “fracking” in particular, local sources said.

The ban was imposed last month after pleas from John Williams, an anti-fracking activist, who warned of imminent drilling operations in a Niles neighborhood.

Mayor Ralph Infante is still opposed to drilling in neighborhoods but said the town council needs to take another look at the ordinance and maybe rescind it.


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