The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday it is dropping its longstanding plan to have independent scientists review its finding that hydraulic fracturing may be linked to groundwater pollution in central Wyoming.

The EPA is standing by its findings, but state officials will lead further investigation into the pollution in the Pavillion area. The area has been a focus of the debate over whether fracking can pollute groundwater ever since the EPA’s initial report came out in late 2011.

“We stand behind our work and the data, but EPA recognizes the state’s commitment to further investigation,” said agency spokesman Tom Reynolds in Washington, D.C. The EPA will let state officials carry on the investigation with the federal agency’s support, he said.

Wyoming officials have been skeptical about the theory that fracking played a role in the pollution at Pavillion, but Reynolds expressed confidence the state could lead the work from here. He described the shift as the best way to ensure Pavillion-area residents have a clean source of drinking water.

They’ve also been down this road before.

But in fact, the fracking-poisons-groundwater complaint has largely proven to be overblown. The reality is that many places around the U.S. have naturally occurring methane, and if water wells aren’t properly constructed and sealed, or have aged and become damaged, gas can seep into groundwater. But there is no evidence of a direct link between shale gas drilling and groundwater contamination. Indeed, the Environmental Protection Agency has lately had to retreat from several investigations against energy companies operating in Pennsylvania and Texas, where the agency had alleged that drilling caused groundwater contamination. And EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has recently admitted that there is no evidence that fracking has ever directly polluted groundwater. States such as Pennsylvania, meanwhile, have worked hard in developing regulations to prevent any future contamination by mandating properly sealed drilling wells and proper cement-casing standards for those wells. The Times reports about “radioactive” fracking wastewater were studied by state regulators and other experts, who concluded that the trace amounts of radioactive particles were so small as to be insignificant.

The reality is that the big money climate cultists all put their money on wind and solar, hoping to reap financial rewards from government subsidies to companies that can’t be self-sustaining in the marketplace. They have to be anti-fracking and natural gas because evil capitalists are making money the good old fashioned way: supplying a demand.

And that drives Leftists crazy.