Environmental groups disappointed by handover of water contamination study

Jun 21, 2013

Environmental groups say they’re disappointed that the Environmental Protection Agency has handed over control of the Pavillion water quality study to the state.

In 2011, the EPA issued a draft report tentatively linking groundwater contamination to fracking around Pavillion. Yesterday, the agency announced that it will not finalize that report.

Richard Garrett with the Wyoming Outdoors Council says he’s unhappy with EPA’s decision.

“They were certainly an agency that stepped up when others wouldn’t, to try to figure out what the water contamination problems are and from where they come,” Garret said.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will now take over the investigation. EPA and Encana, an energy company operating in the Pavillion area, will have the opportunity to recommend third-party experts to review the state’s work.

Garrett says he hopes the state will be transparent in its investigation and will include all affected parties.

“Since Encana Oil and Gas, the company that has the most to gain or lose from the results of this study, is in fact providing funding for the investigation and will have undoubtedly a high level of input, including the ability to recommend third-party experts, it’s going to be crucial that the state involve local landowners and independent scientists,” he said.

Wyoming plans to wrap up its study by the end of September 2014.