NM Drilling Ban Sparks Lawsuit

Nov 13, 2013

A decision by one New Mexico county to prohibit oil and natural gas development has prompted a statewide industry group and three landowners to challenge the ban in federal court.

The case is being closely watched as Mora County was the first in the country to impose such a ban.

The lawsuit filed Monday in Albuquerque by the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico and the landowners claims the ban is unconstitutional.

The suit says the county lacks authority to pass such an ordinance and it stands to effect property and due process rights.

The ordinance was approved on a 2-1 vote in April. In addition to banning oil and gas development, it establishes a bill of rights aimed at affirming the county's right to local autonomy and self-governance.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.