Weatherford resident Steve Lipsky demonstrates his flaming water hose.

The EPA apparently caved to gas industry pressure by dropping a case involving a gas-tainted water well in Weatherford, Texas, according to an AP investigation published today.

The report stems from an EPA finding in 2010 that gas driller Range Resources was responsible for methane contamination in two wells near the town of Weatherford, just west of Fort Worth, Texas. The agency issued an emergency order to force Plano-based Range Resources to fix the problem and supply the two affected families with clean water. It even hired an independent expert to confirm that nearby gas drilling was contaminating area well water.

The expert reported that the benzene and methane contamination found in the wells of two families (among other wells he tested) appeared to match the gases being used or recovered at a Range Resources nearby drilling site.

But despite that strong evidence, the EPA later withdrew its edict to Range Resources when the company refused to participate in a government study about gas drilling, according to the AP story. The report found that:

“Range Resources told EPA officials in Washington that so long as the agency continued to pursue a ‘scientifically baseless’ action against the company in Weatherford, it would not take part in the study and would not allow government scientists onto its drilling sites, said company attorney David Poole.”

The EPA “offered no public explanation for its change in thinking,” the AP story reported.

Read theĀ  full story here.