Some Background:

Civitas Resources is proposing an oil and gas project in unincorporated Arapahoe county, known as the Lowry Ranch Comprehensive Area Plan. This plan is proposing up to 166 wells on 12 new and existing well pads. If approved, this project will entail drilling pads as close as 3,000 feet from local residences (with possible exceptions down to 1000 feet) and roughly 1,400 feet from the shorelines of the Aurora Reservoir.  The drilling and high pressure fracking operations would also encroach on the Lowry Superfund site – where millions of gallons of toxic waste sit in 78 unlined trenches.  The danger is that seismic activity or leaks caused by fracking could either cause the toxic waste to leak into the aquifer system that millions of Coloradans use for drinking water or allow leaks into Aurora Reservoir where drinking water is stored for 390,000 people. 

The affected neighborhoods include Tollgate Crossing, Sorrel Ranch, Pomeroy, Southlands, Forest Trace, Wheatlands, Beacon Point, Southshore, Tallyn’s Reach, Heritage Eagle Bend, Whispering Pines, Serenity Ridge, Blackstone Country Club, Butterfield Trails.

This project is also within scope of multiple schools in the Cherry Creek school district. Researchers have found that fracking has adverse effects on our environment and human health. The toxic air pollutants emitted from these oil and gas operations disproportionately impact those with underlying health conditions, pregnant women, children and the elderly. We must come together to voice our concerns and ensure clean air, water, and our Colorado communities are put first. 

Here’s The Latest:

On 2/23/24, the ECMC accepted a drilling application for the Lowry Ranch CAP from Civitas and deemed it complete.  ECMC is now accepting public comment for 60 days, ending on 5/3/24.  This application in renewing the debate about whether it is wise to drill and frack so close to the Lowry Superfund site and the Aurora Reservoir (drinking water source for 390,000 people (READ FULL ARTICLE HERE).  Please attend the emergency Community Town Hall (April 13, 2024: 10am to noon at the Light House at South Shore (27310 E. Southshore Dr., Aurora) map.  At the Town Hall you will learn more about efforts to block the application and to send comments to ECMC here.  Colorado Rising and STAR will continue to coordinate the resistance to this drilling application.  

On 11/14/23, the Arapahoe County Board of County Commissioners approved 3,000 foot setbacks for new oil and gas wells from all occupied structures, in addition to maintaining the County’s recently adopted one-mile setback from all existing or planned/permitted drinking water reservoirs.  The Board voted 3-2 in support, after hours of public comment and hundreds of written testimonials from Colorado’s third most populous county.  Thanks to so many concerned residents for speaking out!  

Although the adopted regulations do include a waiver provision that would allow the setbacks from occupied structures to be reduced to 1,500 feet (with approval through administrative review), or down to 1,000 feet (with unanimous approval by property owners), advocates expect and hope that these waivers will not be the norm. 

Even compared to Boulder County, often touted as having some of the most protective oil and gas setback rules in the state (at 2,500 feet), Arapahoe County’s newly adopted regulations represent some of the greatest setback requirements for any local Colorado jurisdiction.  

While we applaud the County for taking action, we recognize that there is still much work to be done as many county residents could live as little as 1,500 feet from the lights, sounds, smells and toxic emissions and are still under direct threat of oil & gas drilling impacts.  Public comment also outlined a steadfast commitment to enacting setbacks for oil and gas of no less than one mile – under all circumstances. 

Kevin Chan, the founder of Save the Aurora Reservoir (STAR) and Board Member of the Southshore Metro District stated after the 3000 foot setback vote, “Save the Aurora Reservoir stand with the clear science that setbacks of no less than one mile are the minimally protective standard for safety, health, welfare and the environment.  Even so, we are grateful to the County for their work of meaningfully increasing the standard setback distance to better protect our communities.  This victory is by no means the end of our fight for our neighborhoods, but it gives us hope.”

While we celebrate the momentum of this step in the right direction, we will continue to fight for the health and safety of our air, water, land and communities and protect them from unsafe and unhealthy oil and gas drilling operations.  Read more about this news:  ARTICLE, ARTICLE,

At their 4/11/23 meeting, the Arapahoe County Commissioners voted 3 to 2 against an oil and gas moratorium that would have paused any new drilling permit submittals and allowed the County time to develop regulations to better protect public health, safety, air, and water quality.  ARTICLE, ARTICLE, ARTICLE


The Civitas Resources oil and gas company is proposing a drilling project in unincorporated Arapahoe county, known as the Lowry Ranch Comprehensive Area Plan. This plan would drill 164 wells on 12 new and existing well pads. If approved, this project will entail drilling pads as close as 2,000 feet from local residences and roughly 1,400 feet from the shorelines of the Aurora Reservoir.  Here’s how you can help prevent this dangerous project: 

ACTION #1: Pre-send your public comment to the ECMC: the ECMC (formerly COGCC) has created a portal to collect temporary preliminary written public comment while they are reviewing the CAP application. The preliminary written public comments received by the ECMC will be added to the record. Our friends at Save The Aurora Reservoir encourage everyone to share their comment using this form below and to authorize them to submit your comment on your behalf. This will give more time to maximize community input.  (you can use the talking points -blue buttons- below)

ACTION #2:Send your comments to the ECMC today.  Tell them to Deny the Lowry Ranch CAP.

ACTION #3: Sign a petition for your Metro District and participate in your HOA / Metro Distric Meetings to voice your questions and concerns about the Lowry Ranch CAP: (let us know here if your metro district is missing)

ACTION #4: Keep an eye out for educational events coming up in 2024!

Looking for other ways to stay involved and connect with others?

  • Join the “Save the Aurora Reservoir”  on Facebook!  HERE
  • Visit the “Save the Aurora Reservoir ” website!  HERE
Aurora Community Forum pic

Thank you for joining Save the Aurora Reservoir (STAR), Colorado Rising, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and the Colorado Sierra Club at the Lowry Ranch Drilling Plan Community Forum on 1/28/23!  Here are some Community Forum Resources:

As our wonderful speakers emphasized, it will take a strong, dedicated, VOCAL community to stop this plan for the 164 new wells proposed for locations near homes and as close as a quarter mile east of the Aurora Reservoir.  YOU are that community!! 
Thank you!

“Today it’s my neighborhood, but tomorrow it’s yours”

– Laura L

Learn more about Colorado Rising's work across the state

Lifting our communities up by giving them the tools to fight for their land, water and air rights.