May 15th, 2014

In 2013, the Mora County, NM, Board of Commissioners adopted a CELDF-drafted Community Bill of Rights Ordinance banning all hydro-carbon extraction in the County. It was the first county-wide ban in the U.S.

Since then, several corporations and private land owners intent on shale gas drilling and fracking in Mora have filed lawsuits in federal district court to have Mora’s Community Rights Ordinance overturned. As Mora County Commission Chair John Olivas explained in a public statement issued in March 2014: “[C]orporations… are claiming that they have a constitutional right to frack….” CELDF is partnering with Mora County to defend their Community Rights Ordinance and repudiate these corporate constitutional claims.

Mora Land Grant

Descendants of the original people to receive land through the Spanish Land Grants formed a collective known as the Mora Land Grant. They have filed a motion to intervene in one of the Mora County lawsuits, which was filed by a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell. CELDF supports their involvement in the lawsuit.

Mora County Legal Defense Fund

The Mora Land Grant formed the Mora County Legal Defense Fund, established to help defend Mora’s Community Bill of Rights, and to protect Mora County from fracking.

The Mora County Legal Defense Fund recognizes that Mora’s Community Bill of Rights Ordinance, and the lawsuits filed in an attempt to overturn it, are about much more than simply fracking. In a recent press release from the intervenors, their civil rights attorney Jeffrey Haas stated,

“This case is about who controls the water, the land, the natural environment in Mora County, the residents of the County who have passed the ordinance to protect their rights and the rights of nature, or an out of State Corporation.”

Protecting Community Rights

Join us in standing with the Mora County Legal Defense Fund and the people of Mora County as they assert their unalienable Community Rights to clean air and water, to a healthy environment, and to local self-governance. “[W]e see these lawsuits as merely a beginning…,” stated Commissioner Chair John Olivas.“We call on you to join the people of Mora in our resistance …. Only then will we begin to build the world and communities that we so desperately need.”

Learn more about CELDF’s work in Mora County here. Learn more about the Moral County Legal Defense Fund here.

Additional Resources