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NEWS: Canadian fracking company may have polluted groundwater in Wyoming

The Associated Press reports, “The US Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday for the first time that fracking — a controversial method of improving the productivity of oil and gas wells — may be to blame for causing groundwater pollution. The draft finding could have significant implications while states try to determine how to regulate the process. Environmentalists characterized the report as a significant development though it met immediate criticism from the oil and gas industry…”

“The EPA found that compounds likely associated with fracking chemicals had been detected in the groundwater beneath Pavillion, a small community in central Wyoming where residents say their well water reeks of chemicals. …Calgary, Alberta-based Encana Corp. owns the Pavillion gas field. …The fracking occurred below the level of the drinking water aquifer and close to water wells, the EPA said. …The EPA did emphasize that the findings are specific to the Pavillion area. The agency said the fracking that occurred in Pavillion differed from fracking methods used elsewhere in regions with different geological characteristics. …Elsewhere, drilling is more remote and fracking occurs much deeper than the level of groundwater that would normally be used.”

“Encana spokesman Doug Hock said there was much to question about the draft study.”

As noted on a Wiki page, Encana has operations in Alberta, northeast British Columbia as well as an offshore operation called Deep Panuke in development off Nova Scotia (about 250 kilometres southeast of Halifax). Encana has been criticized over a protected area south of Calgary where the company proposed to drill several hundred natural gas wells. In northern British Columbia where Encana pipelines have experienced six explosions, media reports indicate the pipeline may have been bombed by disgruntled community members. Issues have also been raised about Deep Panuke, given Encana has proposed a streamlined regulatory process. Encana’s fracking operations in the United States are visible in the 2010 documentary Gasland which alleges that fracking causes pollution of ground and surface water, as well as air and soil pollution.

The Council of Canadians opposes fracking because of its high water use, its high carbon emissions, its impacts on human health, the disruption it causes to wildlife, and the danger it poses to groundwater and local drinking water. We are calling for a country-wide stop to fracking operations. We will also be launching a petition campaign shortly to put pressure on the federal government to step into a leadership role and ensure that our water sources, people’s health and the environment are protected from unnecessary and dangerous pollution.

For more on our campaign against fracking, please see http://canadians.org/fracking.