Environment

WyoFile: Tribes left in the dark by EPA over fracking study





The Eastern Shoshone Tribe and the Northern Arapaho Tribe say the Environmental Protection Agency left them in the dark about further hydraulic fracturing studies in Wyoming:
The Northern Arapaho tribe wrote a letter on Monday June 24 to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to reconsider its June 20 decision to surrender to the state of Wyoming its lead role in the investigation of ground water quality outside of Pavillion in Fremont County.

After a series of state and national stories, the gas and oil fields near Pavillion, which are located within the Wind River Indian Reservation, have become synonymous with hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting oil and natural gas by injecting a mixture of water, chemicals and sand into the earth. Conservationists and oil industry advocates hotly debate the effects of “fracking” on groundwater quality. An EPA draft report completed two years ago suggested a link between fracking and groundwater pollution in the area outside Pavillion.

“EPA’s recent action violates clear federal policy requiring agencies to engage in meaningful consultation with Tribes before taking action affecting tribal property or other interests,” wrote Darrell O’Neal, Sr., co-chairman of the Northern Arapaho Business Council. “We request that EPA place its recent decision on hold until it fulfills its obligation to consult with the Northern Arapaho Tribe.”

Both the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes say that when Howard Cantor, a deputy administrator at the EPA’s Region 8 office in Denver, traveled to Fort Washakie on June 17, he informed the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Joint Business Council of a decision that was already a done deal.

Get the Story:
Tribes, residents say EPA deserted them in Pavillion (WyoFile 6/25)

Related Stories:
Northern Arapaho Tribe seeks participation in fracking studies (6/21)
House committee approves Native American Energy Act (06/13)
DOI extends comment period on rule for hydraulic fracturing (06/06)
DOI defends inclusion of Indian lands in fracking regulation (05/24)
DOI releases update to fracking regulation on Indian lands (05/16)
Testing shows presence of carcinogen in water in fracking zone (09/27)
Wyoming tribes participate in testing of water in fracking zone (9/26)