Encana presses EPA to hand over test results by Tennille Tracy, September 25, 2012, The Wall Street Journal
WASHINGTON–Encana Corp. (ECA.T, ECA), the natural-gas company at the center of one of the fiercest debates over the risks of hydraulic fracturing, is urging the Environmental Protection Agency to hand over test results from wells near the company’s drilling sites in Pavillion, Wyo. In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released Tuesday, Encana said its inability to access those results, along with data it is seeking under a Freedom of Information Act request, is preventing the company from weighing in on a closely watched EPA investigation. Specifically, Encana said it can’t comment on a report EPA is developing to determine whether the company’s natural-gas-drilling activities contaminated water wells.
Concern over potential water contamination has led to widespread opposition to hydraulic fracturing–a process whereby companies pump a high-pressure mix of water, sand and chemicals into the ground to break open seams in the earth and release natural gas trapped inside. EPA set a deadline of Oct. 16 for Encana and others to comment on its report, which made headlines late last year when it was released in draft form and said tests revealed Encana’s drilling activity had contaminated the groundwater. … In its letter, which was made public Tuesday but sent to the EPA earlier this month, Encana asked whether the agency was willing to postpone the deadline if it didn’t hand over the requested information soon. According to Encana, EPA said it would hand over the documents by this Thursday, but the company said it is doubtful it will receive them. EPA wasn’t available for immediate comment. Encana has long maintained that EPA conducted a flawed analysis of two monitoring wells in Pavillion, in which the agency said it found compounds “associated with” the process of hydraulic fracturing. “We think there’s reluctance on their part to provide more information for that very reason,” Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. [Emphasis added]
[Refer also to: Ruling advances Jessica Ernst’s tainted water lawsuit, documents must be released, says Alberta information boss “We thought we were doing the right thing by not supplying the information,” ]