Is the EPA Backing Off of Fracking Research?

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[Photo: John Fenton with the group Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens holds up a sample of water he believes was tainted by hydraulic fracturing. Credit: Abrahm Lustgarten/ProPublica]

In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency dropped a bombshell. It had preliminary evidence that hydraulic fracturing had contaminated an aquifer deep below the Wyoming town of Pavillion, the first time fracking had been positively linked to water pollution. State officials and industry experts heaped criticism on the study, and the agency vowed to look into the issue further.

That look ended last month, without any conclusions, when the EPA quietly announced it was wrapping up its work. No final report came out.

For investigative reporter Abrahm Lustgarten, this wasn't an isolated incident of the agency changing course, but part of a larger trend. Recently, in several recent high profile drilling investigations, the agency has abandoned its work before releasing conclusive findings.

Lustgarten wrote about this for ProPublica, the investigative news service, and he talks with host Ryan Warner about what he's finding.