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EPA Expands Wyoming Fracking Investigation

Susan Phillips / StateImpactPA

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson speaks to reporters in Philadelphia

The Environmental Protection Agency caused quite a stir in December, when a preliminary report linked hydraulic fracturing to water pollution in Pavillion, Wyoming.
The drilling industry pushed back hard against the study, arguing it was incomplete, and examined a shallower type of fracking incompatible with the drilling being done in Pennsylvania.
We’ll hear more about the issue soon: as the Wyoming Star-Tribune reports, the EPA is expanding its investigation in order to “clarify questions” about the preliminary findings:

“The EPA, the State of Wyoming, and the Tribes recognize that further sampling of the deep monitoring wells drilled for the Agency’s groundwater study is important to clarify questions about the initial monitoring results,” said EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Gov. Matt Mead and┬áthe┬áNorthern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes in a joint statement released today.
The agency released a report in December linking hydraulic fracturing, an oil and natural gas process, to contamination it found in wells it tested.
Some local landowners who long suspected oil and gas well development had poisoned their water wells praised the report, and environmental groups touted it as proof hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, hurts groundwater.
But it drew criticism from industry and state officials, who said the agency may not have properly tested wells and didn’t test them enough times to gather sufficient data.
The agency will collaborate with the state and “other stakeholders in designing the sampling methodology, the quality assurance plan, and other features of the next phase of testing,” according to the joint statement.

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