June 24, 2013

Media Contact:
Richard Garrett,  legislative advocate and energy policy analyst, 307-332-7031 x18; richard@wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org

Wyoming Group Disappointed by Delay in Fracking Study; Calls for Transparency and Independent Oversight of State’s Groundwater Investigation


Lander, Wyo. — The Wyoming Outdoor Council is calling on the state of Wyoming to exercise maximum transparency, employ the best science available, and retain impartial scientific experts to oversee its investigation into groundwater contamination east of Pavillion.

The group also expressed disappointment that Wyoming citizens will have to wait even longer for the final results of this study.

“The victims in all of this — the affected citizens east of Pavillion — have been seeking answers for years,” said Richard Garrett with the Wyoming Outdoor Council. “It is imperative that this newest study be the best investigation possible.”

Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead announced on Thursday the state will further investigate potential drinking water contamination from drilling operations in the rural area east of Pavillion, taking the lead from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which had been the principal investigator for the last two years.

“Since Encana Oil and Gas — the company that has the most to gain or lose from the results of this study — is providing funding for this investigation and will have 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 put independent science first, in every phase of this investigation,” said Richard Garrett with the Wyoming Outdoor Council.

“This action will only be meaningful if it results in a scientifically valid investigation that gives the people affected some certainty and the opportunity to evaluate their alternatives for securing clean water,” he said.

The fact that the state finds itself at this point, with a complicated and potentially contentious investigation on its hands, is a clear example of how important it is to test and record groundwater quality prior to oil and gas development, Garrett said.

“It just underscores how important it is to have some certainty about water quality before any drilling takes place. As the governor’s staff has said many times, baseline testing is cheap insurance,” he said.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council is calling on the state to achieve the following in its investigation:

  • Employ the best science available
  • Drill additional test wells if needed
  • Retain impartial scientific experts to oversee the science and its analysis
  • Obtain independent scientific peer-reviewed results
  • Involve local citizens, landowners, and conservation interests
  • Realize complete public transparency
  • Initiate a parallel investigation, led by the Wyoming Department of Health, into potential human health impacts of the water contamination and drilling activities east of Pavillion



West Edge