SANTA FE, N.M. — Mora County has sent notice that the petroleum industry is not welcome, becoming the first county in the nation to ban oil and gas drilling within its boundaries.
On Monday, the county commission passed a Community Water Rights and Local Self-Government ordinance, restricting the rights of corporations and establishing a local Bill of Rights that gives the county full autonomy to protect its natural resources.
“We’re here as a county commission to protect the public welfare and the environment of our community, and I think the ordinance does that,” said John Olivas, commission chairman. “Water is the most precious resource we have, and water protection and the right to clean air is definitely something we were targeting.”
The ordinance states in part: “We believe that industrial use of water supplies in this county placing the control of water in the hands of a corporate few, rather than the county would constitute abuse and usurpation; and that we are therefore duty bound to oppose such abuse and usurpation. That same duty requires us to recognize that two centuries’ worth of governmental conferral of constitutional powers upon corporations has deprived people of the authority to govern their own communities, and requires us to take affirmative steps to remedy that usurpation of governing power … .”