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Governor Calls For More Data on Wyoming Groundwater Pollution [AUDIO]

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Governor Matt Mead has fired back after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday that it found compounds likely associated with “fracking” chemicals in the groundwater near Pavillion. The Wyoming governor quickly questioned the draft study, saying that it is scientifically questionable and that more testing is needed.

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We’ve had two test wells up there that the EPA used and from each of those we got a couple of data points, so we have about four data points total. That is not sufficient to make a conclusion. So, I’ve invited EPA and industry and the Tribes and have notified the State Joint Appropriations that we need some more money for testing. This issue on hydrolic fracking is too important to leave to sort of a hunch or to draft proposals or draft evidence and that’s where we are now with the EPA.
-Governor Matt Mead

A release from the governor’s office says that typically findings from only two sampling events suggest that more sampling is needed before conclusions can be drawn. Members of the Pavillion Working Group have also raised questions about the compound 2-BE, which was found in one sample out of four that were taken, and why it was only found in results from one lab, while other labs tested the exact same water and did not find it.

The working group was formed by Wyoming to investigate after residents near Pavillion complained about their water wells. The group includes residents, state agencies, Tribes, EPA and the Bureau of Land Management. The study released by the EPA was based on data from two test wells drilled in 2010 which are deeper than drinking wells. The data from the test wells was not available to the rest of the working group until a month ago.

Mead has asked the EPA to partner with Wyoming and industry to do the necessary further testing. He said he was pleased to hear that the EPA would be willing to partner in that effort because too many questions have been raised to not pursue further information. 

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One of the things they found that they say is a fingerprint in terms of showing contamination, they sent the same sample to various labs and only one lab showed that result. Those are the questions we need answered. Before we draw any conclusions one way or another, we just want to make sure we go back, do the peer review, do more testing, more analysis, and then whatever it is, it is. And I think industry, certainly the State of Wyoming and I think the EPA should be satisfied in saying, ‘We want the best science on this.’ Because it is such an important issue for energy, it is such an important issue regarding clean water and the environment.
-Governor Matt Mead

Earlier testing did show problems with a few drinking wells near Pavillion. The working group will continue to explore causes with those wells according to the Governor.

What we do know is that there has not been fracking in this area for several years and that there have been significant changes in our drilling regulations since then. Wyoming has led the country in regulating fracking because we want to protect our people, protect the environment and bring energy to the nation. More research will only help us.
-Governor Matt Mead

Currently, people in Pavillion with concerns about their drinking water are being provided water by industry. The governor’s office says Wyoming has also commissioned a study to look at alternative water supplies for these residents.

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