Wyoming official pins Pavillion pollution complaints on greed

Wyoming official pins Pavillion pollution complaints on greed by Mike Soraghan, June 6, 2012, EnergyWire
Vancouver – Wyoming’s top oil and gas official yesterday said the people in Pavillion, Wyo., who have complained that drilling polluted their water are motivated by money. “I really believe greed is driving a lot of this,” state Oil and Gas Supervisor Tom Doll told a meeting of fellow state regulators here. “I think they’re just looking to be compensated.” Doll spoke to a full room at the midyear meeting of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, delivering a pointed and detailed critique of a December report from U.S. EPA confirming allegations that some groundwater in the area had been contaminated by fluid used in hydraulic fracturing of gas wells. Doll said he and other state officials have concluded that the contamination EPA found in a monitoring well actually came from the drilling of the well itself. “We believe the report is incomplete and bad science,” he said. Deb Thomas, an organizer who has worked with the Pavillion-area residents with water complaints, rejected the idea that the residents are motivated by money. She said Doll shouldn’t be insulting residents of his state. “Although I’ve heard Encana reps say the impacted residents are driven by greed, this is the first time I’ve heard a state official publicly make that charge,” Thomas said. “I’m surprised and saddened to hear Wyoming officials making judgments about Wyoming citizens. It is improper, and he should be sticking to facts rather than his opinions.” And EPA officials aren’t backing down. “EPA stands behind our draft report and the methods used to collect and assess data from Pavillion monitoring wells,” EPA spokesman Richard Mylott said in an emailed statement. “We have been consistent in our commitment to conducting a transparent, public and independent peer review of our data and preliminary findings.”

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