Watch CBS News

Neighbors in southeast Aurora voice concerns about fracking project to Colorado state commission

Neighbors in southeast Aurora voice concerns about fracking project to state commission
Neighbors in southeast Aurora voice concerns about fracking project to state commission 02:42

Neighbors in southeast Aurora are getting their opportunity to voice their concerns about a Colorado fracking project coming to their area. The Lowry Ranch CAP is a proposed 32,000-acre, 10-surface location, 166-well comprehensive area plan in unincorporated Arapahoe County.

Neighbors in the area are wary. The project is east of the Aurora Reservoir, which has some people concerned about the environmental effects on their drinking water and neighborhood.


Civitas, the company behind the project, said in a statement to CBS Colorado in April of 2024 saying:

"Colorado operators have decades of best practices and redundant layers of water protection on top of the nation's strictest regulations that safeguard our state's water supplies. The redundant safeguards and subsequent monitoring have shown that oil and natural gas development can safely occur without impacting groundwater and surface water sources. In fact, multiple layers of steel casing and cement separate the wellbore from our aquifers and is separated by over a mile of impermeable rock. This has been standard practice in Colorado for more than a decade."

Despite that, some neighbors have banded together to form "Save the Aurora Reservoir" or STAR to try to stop the project.

"We've been working hard," said Randy Willard an executive staff member of STAR.

Randy Willard CBS

He says he and his colleagues have been volunteering a lot of their time lately.

"I personally have been working basically like a full-time job," said Willard.

Willard says they have been spreading the word about the project for years, but plenty of still don't know about the project.

"Even if people are aware, they either think because of the paperwork they've gotten from the company, that this is already a done deal, or they just haven't spent the time to educate themselves on what this really means," said Willard.

He hopes that may be slowly changing. STAR asked the Colorado Energy and Carbon Management Commission (ECMC) to hold a public meeting Thursday evening so neighbors can express their opinions about the project. Willard says more than 170 of his neighbors have signed up to attend.

"I think this means that there is a wider coalition here than just the people in STAR who've been involved," said Willard.

The ECMC says public hearings like this can be requested by communities when a project is planned for their area. This is the first time one has been requested since the law changed in 2019 when the Colorado State Legislature passed SB 19-181 and they say they're happy to hear the community's concerns.

"ECMC is committed to working with local communities especially those with development that could impact them," said Megan Castle the community relations supervisor for ECMC.

Megan Castle CBS

Willard just hopes hearing from the community will convince the ECMC to protect his neighborhood.

"I hope that they step back and really take into account what we said. We'd love to see this project canceled or at least moved far enough away that we are no longer as concerned about our safety," said Willard.

The ECMC says the public will have another opportunity to provide comment in June as part of the commission hearing on the Lowry Ranch CAP.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.