By Ben Neary and Mead Gruver
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Some Wyoming residents say they were excluded from a deal that has the state government taking over further study of tainted drinking water in their area from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA theorized in 2011 the petroleum industry practice of hydraulic fracturing may have contaminated the groundwater near the town of Pavillion. The EPA now says it won’t finish or have outside experts review the research.
Wyoming officials announced Thursday the state will take over the study with help from $1.5 million from Encana Corp., which owns the Pavillion gas field. Environmentalists and the Northern Arapaho Tribe call that a conflict of interest.
Gov. Matt Mead says he’s talking with affected residents and understands their skepticism. He says he’s pleased EPA recognizes Wyoming is best-positioned to act.