Wyoming officials persuaded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to delay an announcement that rocked the oil and gas industry by linking hydraulic fracturing with groundwater contamination.
The delay gave state officials time to try to debunk the finding that the controversial method of exploiting oil and gas deposits may have tainted groundwater near the gas patch community of Pavillion. The EPA has since agreed to new testing to examine the initial finding.
An investigation by The Associated Press reveals the EPA privately briefed Wyoming officials in early November. Gov. Matt Mead then got EPA Director Lisa Jackson to postpone the public announcement, which happened more than a month later.
Emails show Wyoming officials used the delay to "take a hard line" and raise dozens of questions about the EPA's science.