A Texas company says it will buy natural gas assets in Fremont County, some of which landowners suspect are responsible for polluting water wells.

Legacy Reserves LP of Midland, Texas, announced Tuesday it will buy the assets in the county for $45 million in cash, but it didn't identify the seller.

The purchase, which is set to close Dec. 1, includes properties, a natural gas gathering system, gas processing plant and related compression facilities, the company said.

"There are also multiple locations included in this acquisition that will be evaluated for future drilling," Legacy Reserves said in a media release.

The assets include EnCana Corp.'s operations in the Pavillion area, EnCana spokesman Randy Teeuwen confirmed.

"It's purely a business decision," he said. "EnCana is a exploration and production company and our strength is in resource plays."

"The Pavillion assets were no longer part of our core business, and they were not a resource play," he said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the groundwater in the area after residents complained about contaminated drinking water wells.

Some of the residents attributed the contamination to energy development in the area, although EnCana disputed the claims.

Landowners in the Pavillion area were approached by a Legacy Reserves representative last week and told the company was buying assets from EnCana, said Deb Thomas, organizer with the Powder River Basin Resource Council, a landowners group.

In a joint statement issued today, two Pavillion landowners and Thomas called on the state government to block the sale pending release of the federal investigation results.

"We are opposed to the sale of this oil and gas field until the contamination and extensive impacts to our property and health have been addressed," John Fenton, an area rancher and member of the group Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens, said in the statement.

A call to a Legacy Reserves representative and a call and email to the spokesman for Gov. Matt Mead weren't immediately returned today.

Check back later for more on this story.

Reach Jeremy Fugleberg at 307-266-0623 or jeremy.fugleberg@trib.com. Read his blog at http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/boom/ and follow him on Twitter: @jerenegy.


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