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EPA Backs Down From Fracking Contamination Order

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HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – The Environmental Protection Agency has withdrawn an order requiring a natural gas drilling company to provide water for two North Texas families based on accusations that the company contaminated water wells.

The EPA said Friday its decision regarding Range Resources drilling in Parker County allows the agency to shift the focus “away from litigation and toward a joint effort on the science and safety of energy extraction.”

Range was accused of contaminating water with benzene, methane and other toxic gases through a drilling method called hydraulic fracturing. The process involves breaking up rock with chemical-laced water to free previously out-of-reach natural gas.

Fracking is a controversial practice among many environmentalists and some homeowners.

The Fort Worth company and the Texas Railroad Commission argued the contamination came from other natural causes.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS Local. The Associated Press contributed to this report.  All Rights Reserved.)

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