EPA Will Conduct More Testing on Contaminated Wyoming Wells

In December the Environmental Protection Agency released a report which concluded that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, was linked to contamination in wells that they had tested near Pavillion, Wyoming.

Four months later, they are going back for more.  In a joint statement from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, Gov. Matt Mead and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes, it was announced that "[t]he 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."  More after the jump...

Local landowners who had suspected the contamination and environmental advocates had been satisfied with the previous test results, but the EPA's ruling had drawn criticism from industry and state officials who questioned the testing methods used and whether enough testing was done to gather sufficient data.  As one of the prime cases anti-fracking advocates point to in order to support their stance, the decision to re-examine these wells is not likely to be a completely popular decision.

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.

"Additional research will be conducted collaboratively using the highest scientific standards and will be subjected to independent peer review," they wrote in the joint statement. "We are committed to ensuring the peer review process is conducted with maximum transparency and the highest level of scientific integrity."

What do you think of the decision to re-examine this conclusion in Wyoming?  Is it only prudent to eliminate any questions about the process, or could this be big oil and gas money at work? 

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