UPDATE:  ATTORNEY GENERAL REJECTS BROOKLINE OIL AND GAS BAN

UPDATE: ATTORNEY GENERAL REJECTS BROOKLINE OIL AND GAS BAN

Last December, MTM alerted its readers that Brookline had passed a bylaw that would ban oil and gas installations in new construction projects and substantial renovation projects. As we wrote then, because Brookline is a town, the measure required review and approval of the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in order to take effect. We noted that, for several reasons, it was questionable whether the legislation would withstand review or legal challenge. On July 21, 2020 the Attorney General announced that its office had rejected the by-law because it was preempted by the state building code, gas code and the Department of Public Utilities’ power to regulate the sale and distribution natural gas.

"On July 21, 2020 the Attorney General announced that its office had rejected the by-law because it was preempted by the state building code, gas code and the Department of Public Utilities’ power to regulate the sale and distribution natural gas."

As we wrote in December, several other towns and cities were interested in similar legislation and waiting to see how Brookline’s legislation would fare. While city ordinances would not have to undergo review by the Attorney General’s office, the Attorney General’s denial will make it harder for similar local legislation to hold up in court and may deter further local legislation. The Attorney General’s decision leaves the open for a viable state-wide proposal. The Attorney General’s decision largely focused largely on issues of state law preemption and did not hold that such legislation was necessarily unconstitutional under state law. We expect the issue to move to the Statehouse next and will update you on any new developments.

Katherine G. Brady Condo Law Blog

If you have any questions, you can email Katherine at kbrady@lawmtm.com or any of our other attorneys at Moriarty Troyer and Malloy LLC at 781-817-4900 or info@lawmtm.com.

Katherine G. Brady