By RYAN TRACY
The Environmental Protection Agency said this week it would drop an investigation that had linked contaminated water to natural-gas drilling in Wyoming, in a boost for Encana Corp. and other firms that practice the drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.
The EPA will allow the state of Wyoming to continue the investigation but doesn't "plan to rely upon the conclusions' of its previous study, the state and the agency said in a joint statement.
In late 2011, the agency released a draft report suggesting water samples near Encana gas wells in Pavillion, Wyo., contained chemicals consistent with hydraulic fracturing and present in amounts above safe drinking-water standards.
The findings were among the first by the government to link water contamination with "fracking" -- injecting water, sand and chemicals to dislodge natural gas or oil.
"We're pleased that EPA has agreed to discontinue its investigation," Encana spokesman Doug Hock said. "And, we applaud the fact that further efforts in Pavillion will focus on the few specific complaints about perceived changes in domestic water well quality."
Dow Jones newswires