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What's Happening?

On Sep. 14th, 2011 the Aurora Sentinel ran an article announcing that the Texas based company Anadarko Petroleum Corporation applied to drill up to 36 wells within a 30 square mile area bordering mainly to the south and east of our community (One well is proposed to be installed just north of Cross Creek in the field between the cell tower and I-70).   More... The proposed drilling area starts at S. Gun Club Rd. and runs East to S Watkins Rd and extends South from E. Colfax Ave. to E. Yale Ave.  Anadarko is waiting to present their plan during the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission(COGCC) Hearing on October 17th, 2011 (Docket# 1110-SP-121 and 1110-SP-122, Case#535) at the City of Littleton – Council Chambers.  The full plan they are proposing will include an additional 24 other wells in rural Arapahoe county.  If the Niobrara shale proves to be as productive as Anadarko hopes, there will be over 50 new wells dug in Arapahoe County by Anadarko alone.  If all goes well at the upcoming Oct. hearing, Anadarko is purportedly ready to begin drilling their first 2 test wells before the end of this year.  According to a presentation that Anadarko gave on Sep. 28th to the UBS Global Oil & Gas Conference, they plan to have over 40+ horizontal wells active within the 1.2 million net acres of the Niobrara formation they own by the end of 2011. (Slide 28).  Anadarko ended the second quarter of 2011 with ~$3.4 Billion cash on hand and has access to $5 Billion of credit (Slide 9).  Make no mistake, Anadarko has the means and the capital to put this plan into action.  It IS coming once everything is approved!

How/Why is this happening?

Our houses sit upon the “Niobrara” Shale formation.  It’s estimated that Niobrara could hold upwards of 2 billion barrels of oil.  Anadarko owns 1.2 million net acres of the Niobrara formation to include the mineral rights under our houses.  When Cross Creek was developed, the mineral rights were not broken up with the surface rights to be included with your home purchase. More...  The process known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking) that makes this oil extrapolation so profitable, was common practice when our neighborhood was developed, but not in combination with horizontal drilling. Lennar did not see the need to split up the mineral rights. The traditional active form of vertical drilling at that time would necessitate direct access to the surface of your property.  Anadarko will drill horizontal well shafts, we just don’t know if they will run beneath our houses. That level of detail of their proposed plan has not been released yet.  For nearly two years, the Niobrara has been of great interest when in Oct. 2009 EOG Resources Inc. drilled a well (Jake 2-01H) in Northern Colorado that produced 645 barrels of oil per day in its first 30 days of operation. That is nearly six times the 100 – 150 barrels a day produced by an ordinary well.  After the first 90 days it had produced nearly 50 thousand barrels.  After about 6 months of production (in May of 2010), Jake had produced on average 506 barrels per day.  After 22 months, the most recent update,  Jake has dropped to producing 275 barrels per day.  Because of the complexities of fracturing, no one is sure as to what the long term production will be. So far is is well ahead of the 100-150 barrel per day average of typical wells.  EOG Resources went back to analyzing their data after drilling Jake, and are looking at what they can optimize, before moving forward with other wells. To date they have not conducted any further drilling but they are feeling positive about their test results.  On April 11, 2011 the COGCC granted 4 permits to Lario Oil and Gas to drill 4 wells south and east of Watkins.  These wells are “Wildcats” so no information will be avialable for them until after they have been in operation for 6 months (COGCC Rule 308C). For that reason, all eyes are on Anadarko and their first two test wells. If they produce anywhere like Jake 2-01H did, it will most likely be a mad rush by other Oil and Gas companies to try and get in to start drilling. That sudden in-rush of big rig traffic to sustain mining operations very well could “Hyper Industrialize” the eastern edge of Aurora.

Why is this the first I've heard of this?

Unlike Wyoming or other states that have experienced an uptake in drilling, Colorado does not currently have any regulations in place that force  companies to disclose their intentions to conduct fracking operations near you.  Governor Hickenlooper is actively pushing to have this in place along with other regulations by the end of the year. More...  The city doesn’t have any special communications channels for any information like this to the HOA or board either.  We aren’t told about proposed plans to build anything around us.  We have to find out the same way as a homeowner, by looking from time to time at websites, or reading notices put up for hearing dates at an affected area. Quite frankly, Anadarko’s rushed time frame took probably everyone by surprise.  Up until a few weeks ago, focus on drilling was on activity (both by the city and by activists) surrounding Oil and Gas company’s looking to lease land at the Former Lowry Bombing Range (FLBR)(Which brings with it a similar set of controversy for the rest of the eastern border of Aurora.).  With the City having budget issues, most of their attention so far has been the potential revenue this sort of deal could bring in.  The City and County are woefully under prepared in regards to regulations and legislation that should be in place by now to protect us.  They should be challenged on it. It’s not as if they didn’t completely know it was coming. They most likely didn’t know Anadarko’s project would start drilling before hashing out details with the FLBR deal, and thought they had more time.  If you were paying attention this summer – you would have seen some seismic 3-D study equipment in our neighborhood for a few days sitting on the tree-scapes owned by the city.  Anadarko was conducting a study this summer which started as early as April 2011. It was supposed to take six months and cover 144 Sq. mile, to the cost of somewhere between $4.3 and $7.2 million.  The fact that they have submitted their application so soon after the study should be a strong indication that they found what they were looking for.  While checking, we couldn’t find any reports from this study that have been made public.

What's at Stake?

This is where the controversy starts.  There are many reports both for and against the long term affects of fracking on the environment and your health. Both air and water could be contaminated.  We’ll provide a list of sites that have information so you can start educating yourselves to make up your own mind.  The questions to keep in mind when investigating the fracking process should be beyond just the environmental aspects. Other issues surrounding fracking operations are: a)Noise and light pollution for ~90 days while 24/7 operations are conducted by a rig to drill a well site. b)This will include a marketably noticeable increase in big rig traffic 24/7 (about 1700 – 2000 loads are needed to bring in the 4-5 Million gallons of water and chemicals per well depending on the report you read). c)After the well is established, big rig traffic will slow down a bit, but it will still continue on a fairly regular schedule to transport the extracted oil offsite. If any of Anadarko’s well’s produce like Jake did, that will be ~27,500 gallons of oil per day from a single well.  Our current roads were not built with this much traffic in mind and willneed to be repaired.  e)There will most likely be a displacement of the current wildlife in the area as well.  f)The possibility lower house prices. e)What happens to our water supply over time, all this water for drilling will have to come from somewhere (A typical frack well uses 15 acer feet of water, enough to sustain 150 peoples typical needs for a year).

See our educate yourself page.

What is the ACCOA doing about this?

First and foremost we are looking to spread the word that this is occurring in our neighborhood to try and bring awareness to all home owners. We will provide some information from both sides of the story as best we can so you can make an informed decision as to what your stance is More... .  We are exploring the possibility of having a representative from Anadarko, and a group like Fracking Aurora that is actively opposed to horizontal hydraulic fracture drilling come talk at our next bard meeting. The HOA does not own any land in the neighborhood, the Metro District does.  We have no legal authority to speak on the behalf of the community with out knowing what the majority of CC homeowners stance is. There are going to be homeowners in our neighborhood that will be for drilling, we can’t assume everyone will be against it and represent us as such. We have our suspicions most people won’t be for drilling, but we don’t know for a fact. That’s why it is important that if you do nothing else, you answer the poll question so we know what stance to take. Even after we find the pulse of the neighborhood, we will still be advocates of you speaking out as well. 300+ home owners reaching out to their appointed public officials has much MORE affect than a single board member speaking on behalf of 300+ people.  That’s why our focus will remain on providing information and urging you vocalize your decision. Please answer the poll question:

How should the ACCOA board represent you the homeowner(s) in regards to drilling activities when talking to City/County/State officials.

  • I am against drilling or would like better regulations for drilling. (236 Votes - 90%)
  • I am for drilling. (26 Votes - 10%)

Total Voters: 262
90% are for I am against drilling or would like better regulations for drilling.

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What can I do?

First and foremost – start educating your self.  At first, it will be like drinking water from a fire hose..  You need to do this to make up your own mind as to where you stand on Fracking.  Next – answer our poll question and let us know where you stand. After that you should figure out what you’d like to see YOUR Government do about it.  It’s very un-likely that the drilling will be stopped.  If enough people speak up, anything is be possible. Remember, this is an election year, candidates are hypersensitive to their constituants needs. This IS the time to make your voice heard. There are many ideas for increased regulation that could and should be put in place to address the key issues up for debate. It won’t make them stop, but it will make it safer for everyone. Oil and Gas companies will just loose some of their profitability by having to follow them (slide 2), but a loss of profit slows them down, and their desire to go hog wild. DO NOT assume that someone else is going to do this for you. DO NOT assume that the voice of the board speaking on your behalf is stronger than many of you speaking in unison for Cross Creek. You need to speak up and express your own thoughts and beliefs.  The only way any elected official will effect change, is if they hear from their constituants in mass. The more the better.  As little as 100 people at an Aurora City Council Town Hall meeting or Arapahoe County Commissioner meeting will get their attention.  You don’t have to speak at the meeting if you don’t want.  Taking time out of your busy schedule to just show up conveys a big message to them.  Can you imagine what 250, 500, or even 1000 would do!?  If you want to affect change and you are concerned about what may come, now is definitely NOTthe time to sit idly by! You have less than a month left.  If some of the health concerns that are debated do show up later on, it will be too late to go back and affect change to make them go away, there are no do-overs when it comes to your life and health.

Help the Cross Creek’ers against drilling:
Discussion of the issues: http://forums.auroracrosscreek.org/
Requests for help: http://forums.auroracrosscreek.org/action-items-and-call-to-arms/

If you do nothing else, please at least answer the poll question so we know what the pulse of the community is.

How should the ACCOA board represent you the homeowner(s) in regards to drilling activities when talking to City/County/State officials.

  • I am against drilling or would like better regulations for drilling. (236 Votes - 90%)
  • I am for drilling. (26 Votes - 10%)

Total Voters: 262
90% are for I am against drilling or would like better regulations for drilling.

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Some ways to get involved.

Sign some petitions:


Write a letter to some officials:

Colorado State Land Board
Melissa YoderLowry Range Project Manager
Colorado State Board of Land Commissioners
1127 Sherman St., Suite 300
Denver, CO 20203-2206
Other Board Members

YOUR current city and county representatives and how to contact them:
Aprapahoe County Commissioner
Rod Bockenfeld (District 3)
Administration Building
5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 795-4630
E-mail: rbockenfeld@co.arapahoe.co.us

Aurora City Mayor
Ed Tauer
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7015 (Office)
E-Mail: etauer@auroragov.org
Aurora City Ward II Representative
Mayor Pro Tem: Renie Peterson
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7506 (Office)
E-Mail: rrpeters@auroragov.org

Aurora City Council Members at Large

Bob FitzGerald
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7514 (Office)
E-Mail: bfitzger@auroragov.org

Barbara Cleland
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7524 (Office)
E-Mail: bcleland@auroragov.org

Ryan Frazier (Mayoral Candidate)
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7518 (Office)
E-Mail: rfrazier@auroragov.org

Brad Pierce (Council Member at Large Candidate)
15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 80012
303-739-7522 (Office)
E-Mail: bpierce@auroragov.org

Arapahoe County Commissioners – Meetings are every Tuesday 9:30am in the East Hearing Room – 5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120

District 1
Commissioner Susan Beckman
Administration Building
5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 795-4630 (Office)
E-mail: sbeckman@co.arapahoe.co.us

District 2
Commissioner Nancy N. Sharpe
Administration Building
5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 795-4630 (Office)
E-mail: nsharpe@co.arapahoe.co.us

District 4
Commissioner Nancy Jackson
Administration Building
5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 795-4630 (Office)
E-mail: njackson@co.arapahoe.co.us

District 5
Commissioner Frank Weddig
Administration Building
5334 S. Prince St. Littleton, CO 80120
(303) 795-4630 (Office)
E-mail: fweddig@co.arapahoe.co.us

Email all the Arapahoe County Commissioners: commissioners@co.arapahoe.co.us

Your state representatives: Click here.

Is it true that an ACCOA Board member is an employee of Anadarko?

Yes.  To be clear, this board member joined the board BEFORE they became an employee of Anadarko.  The Board member has recused themselves from any and all activities the board will partake in, in regards to discussions/activities surrounding drilling. More...  When the board member became an employee of Anadarko, it was before Anadarko had ever mentioned their interest in the area around Cross Creek, or began any of there activities out here.  The Board members area of responsibility for Anadarko is in parts of Wyoming and Utah and was just as surprised as we are about the announcement of the plan to drill out here.  The board member has never had any official business with Anadarko in regards to the area surrounding our neighborhood.  The Board has agree’d that this board member will abstain from ALL activities in regards to Anadarko to remove any doubts of any impropriety that has recently been questioned.  To be clear, the Board has never had ANY official contact, business, or legal dealings with Anadarko to date, and we don’t see any in the foreseeable future outside of trying to get a representative to speak at an HOA meeting.  To be clear the Board had no advanced warning about the drilling announcement, we found out the same way everyone else did.  Anadarko did approach the Metro District during the summer to get permission to place seismic sensors in our common, areas and they were denied.  That is the only official communication that anyone from our neighborhood has had with Anadarko. What this does mean (due to the accusations of impropriety), is that we will loose what could have been a conduit of communication for Anadarko, as once again we stress – NO information will flow to or from Anadarko, or about and the upcoming fracture drilling with this Board Member.
We’re still trying to get this all together. We’re focused on providing the content right now.  We’ll move next to maintaining it, better organizing it, and adding aesthetics. The data might be moving around for a bit – but it won’t be lost.

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