Some criticism of Mora County’s ordinance banning oil and gas drilling

In the Weekly Standard, Joseph Bottum has written a story called “Fracking the Constitution: Secessionism on the Left,” which criticizes the Mora County ordinance banning oil and gas drilling. (Hat tip to Overlawyered).

Among other things, the ordinance purports to deprive corporations (and individuals who oppose the ordinance) of their rights under the First and Fifth Amendments, and to confer rights on geologic features such as aquifers and streams. Unsurprisingly, the ordinance was recently struck down by federal district court judge James O. Browning. If you have some spare time, the 199-page opinion in SWEPI, LP v. Mora County makes for some interesting reading. 

But what Bottum finds most interesting is Section 11 of the ordinance, which provides that if “other units and levels of government” try to overturn the ordinance, the Mora County Commission may consider “actions to separate the County from the other levels of government….”

Somehow I doubt that we’ll see an independent Mora County in the future, but it will be interesting to see if Mora County appeals the decision to the Tenth Circuit.



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