The state says it will release both the draft and final versions of reports investigating water contamination in Pavillion. The clarification comes after landowners wrote a letter to Governor Matt Mead protesting the state’s plan to release the draft to Encana, the oil and gas company some accuse of polluting the water, before releasing it to the public.
Mead's spokesperson, Renny MacKay, says by releasing both copies, and the comments provided by Encana, the Environmental Protection Agency and an independent expert, the public will be able to see the evolution of the document.
"And that avoids that situation where we’re putting out draft conclusions," MacKay says. "Because again that was a concern that Governor Mead had with the EPA’s process, was putting out draft conclusions before they were reviewed."
In its letter to the governor, the Powder River Basin Resource Council argues that once the document is released to Encana, public records law requires it be released to everyone.
"It ought to be all on the same playing field and we ought to all have access to that information at the same time," says Jeff Locker, who co-authored the letter.
MacKay says the attorney general will be asked to weigh in on the legal argument.