The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for experts to review a controversial draft report released last month that linked drilling operations in Pavillion, Wyoming, to water contamination in the area.
From Wire Reports and WEN Staff
The agency says in a release that it is “is soliciting public nominations of nationally or internationally recognised scientists and engineers “who can conduct a scientifically thorough and unbiased review of the document.”
According to the agency, interested candidates should have relevant expertise in areas such as petroleum engineering, petroleum geology, water quality, geophysics, or environmental engineering, among others.
Earlier in the month, Encana, which operates the Pavillion natural gas field at the center of the draft report, requested a peer review on EPA’s findings released last month. Wyoming Governor Mead called for further investigations to determine whether it can be definitively said that gas drilling practices in the area have definitively contaminated groundwater.
While opponents of hydraulic fracturing sited the report as proof that the practice is contaminating groundwater, industry groups and Encana itself lambasted it, saying it contained “numerous flaws” and “unacceptable inconsistency”.
In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson last week, Encana asked that “the EPA ensure a rigorous, external independent peer review be conducted of EPA’s draft report, including the conclusions drawn and the quality and precision of the data used”.
The draft report is currently under a period of public comment that will run through the 27th of this month. Encana has also requested that this public comment period be suspended until the agency releases all relevant data that went into the report.
Nominations for the peer review panel will be accepted until 17 February, with a formal meeting expected in either March or April.