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Report: No Evidence that Pavillion Natural Gas Wells are Source of Water Contamination

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A natural gas rig in Wyoming.
A natural gas rig in Wyoming.


In 2011, polluted water was discovered in Pavillion, WY. EPA jumped to conclusions and released a non-peer reviewed report declaring that hydraulic fracturing was the cause. After issuing that report, EPA backed away from its claim. So much so that in 2013 it let Wyoming state environmental officials take over the investigation.

The first of three reports has been released and finds no evidence that natural gas wells stimulated by hydraulic fracturing caused water contamination, the AP reports:

A draft state report released Wednesday on a possible explanation why well water in a central Wyoming gas field smells foul and tastes bad points away from leaky gas wells as a source of the problem.

Testing showed no evidence gas wells in the Pavillion area are leaking produced gas into the ground or providing a route for deep gas to seep into aquifers tapped for household water, according to the draft report by the agency that regulates oil and gas development in Wyoming.

The release of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission report, which examined 50 gas wells within a quarter-mile of 15 water wells, opens a 30-day period for the public and others to weigh in on the draft findings.

Encana, the petroleum company that owns the Pavillion gas field, pointed to the latest findings as evidence their gas wells aren't to blame.

"The report confirms that the natural gas wells in the Pavillion Field were soundly constructed and provide no migration pathway into domestic water wells," Encana spokesman Doug Hock said in an emailed statement.

I hope in the future EPA doesn't carelessly make accusations against hydraulic fracturing, a decades-old technology.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

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