Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency unexpectedly extended the public-comments period for its report on fracking and water contamination in Pavillion, Wyo. Industry groups tell me they’re skeptical about the motives behind this decision.
If the EPA could prove that fracking caused water contamination in the small Wyoming town, it would be an unprecedented discovery. (So far, even Lisa Jackson has been forced to admit there’s no such proven connection.) But the Pavillion study is potentially problematic, as I’ve written recently.
Here’s what Simon Lomax, spokesman for Energy In Depth, told me:
EPA officials have been defensive about the Pavillion report for a long time, but this announcement shows they are really running scared. By holding the comment period open, they are delaying the start of the peer-review process, which is going to be rough. That’s because there are more federal agencies criticizing the EPA’s work in Pavillion than defending it, and there’s mounting evidence that the agency’s poorly drilled monitoring wells tainted the very groundwater it was trying to sample. Of course, the EPA could simply admit its mistakes and withdraw the report. That would be the responsible course of action, but instead, the EPA’s just going keep running from its mistakes for another eight months.