New Mexico: Drilling Ban Overturned

On January 20, U.S. District Judge James O. Browning overturned Mora County, New Mexico’s ban on oil and gas drilling noting the ordinance conflicts with federal and state law.  In his ruling, Judge Browning wrote, “The ordinance thus goes beyond Mora County’s historical lawmaking just to deprive a corporation of their rights.”  The ordinance was originally enacted in April 2013 and was subsequently challenged in court by SWEPI, LP (a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, PLC).  In its legal challenge, SWEPI claimed the ordinance destroyed the value of the company’s drilling leases.