Wyoming’s governor persuaded the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to postpone an announcement linking hydraulic fracturing to groundwater contamination, giving state officials — whom the EPA had privately briefed on the study — time to attempt to debunk the finding before it rocked the oil and gas industry more than a month later, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.
During the delay, state officials raised dozens of questions about the finding that the controversial procedure that has become essential to unlocking oil and gas deposits in Wyoming and beyond may have tainted groundwater near the gas patch community of Pavillion.
Gov. Matt Mead contacted EPA Director Lisa Jackson and persuaded her to hold off any announcement, according to state emails and an interview with the governor. The more than 11,000 emails made available to AP in response to a state records request show that Wyoming officials took advantage of the postponement to “take a hard line” and coordinate an “all-out press” against the EPA in the weeks leading up to the announcement Dec. 8.
So screw science and the health of Wyoming’s people whenthere’s money to be made:
Meanwhile, the chief state regulator of oil and gas development fretted over how the finding would affect state revenue. And even as the state questioned the EPA’s science, there were internal doubts about how effective those objections would be.
"It’s already too late. The White House has already seen the report with conclusions," wrote Gary Strong, an engineer with the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, following a presentation by EPA deputy assistant regional administrator Martin Hestmark.
I really don’t know what to say, other than I am not surprised.