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Media Contact:

Justin Wasser, 202.753.7016, jwasser@earthworks.org

Six month moratorium on drilling permits fails by 3-2 vote

Background: On April 11th, the Arapahoe Board of County Commissioners voted 3-2 in opposition to a six-month moratorium on oil & gas permits. Colorado’s largest oil and gas operator Civitas argued the move would be bad for business while also promising voluntary changes to their proposed development so long as the Commission did not exercise their authority to pause permitting.

County staff had recommended the pause to correct issues where County rules are out of alignment with the city of Aurora’s regulations. In addition, staff sought to explore how to make the regulations more protective of surface water resources. A major development by Civitas is planned near the Aurora Reservoir. Residents voiced a strong desire for the Commissioners to use a moratorium to consider other impacts of new oil and gas development, such as impacts on health and air quality. 

Commissioners Jessica Campbell-Swanson and Leslie Summey voted in favor of the motion. 

Statement by Earthworks Colorado Field Advocate Andrew Klooster:  

“Plain and simple, three Commissioners cowered to avoid upsetting the oil and gas industry while two Commissioners voted to protect the health of county residents.

“There is a real difference between promises from oil & gas companies and a formal act guaranteeing protection of health. The people of Arapahoe County deserve protection not promises.

“Earthworks investigations show state regulators continue to fall short in effectively protecting Colorado residents. It is essential that local governments do everything they can to protect their communities and people’s health. Commissioners Campbell-Swanson and Summey did the right thing.”