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Update: A second accuser emerges with misconduct allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Also on the Monday rundown: We take you to a state where more than 60,000 kids are chronically absent from school; and we'll let you know why the rural digital divide can be a twofold problem.

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Congressional Hearing on EPA Fracking Research in Pavillion

February 1, 2012

PAVILLION, Wyo. - The Environmental Protection Agency's study of groundwater contamination and links to hydraulic fracturing in Pavillion is the topic of a U.S. House subcommittee hearing today in Washington.

No one locally affected was invited to the hearing before the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, which is expected to include criticism of the EPA's scientific approach.

Ever since the report tentatively linked fracking to pollution, says Pavillion rancher John Fenton, the science has been attacked.

"All this, while the people still sit here suffering the impacts, and have lately been pretty much forgotten in the political jousting that's been going on."

Fenton says he and other area residents reached out to the EPA for the research after dealing with water contamination for 10 years and not getting a satisfactory response, either from the state or the industry.

Pavillion resident Louis Meeks says he and others are thankful the EPA tested water supplies, and he wants the agency to be allowed to continue its research and reporting. He describes the effects contaminated water has had on his family.

"We both have breathing problems and have been prescribed oxygen. When we take a shower, the bathroom has to be vented because of the explosive element of methane coming from the water well. We have to wash and rinse all our dishes with bottled water."

Jeff Locker also lives in Pavillion, and wants a chance to tell his story to Congress.

"I'm a little bit frustrated that a lot of times these hearings and meetings take place without inviting people from the local area to represent themselves."

Today's hearing is to begin at 8 a.m. MST. Public comments on the EPA's report are being accepted through March 12 at regulations.gov.

Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY