EPA “Should Admit Its Failings,” Westerman Says After Report Faults Agency for Gold King Mine Spill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 3, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Congressman Bruce Westerman (AR-04) released the following statement Monday (Nov. 2) in response to the Department of the Interior’s report finding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) actions directly led to the spill of three million gallons of toxic wastewater at the Gold King Mine in Colorado in August.

“This report confirms what we have suspected for months – the EPA was responsible for the Gold King spill,” said Westerman, a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee. “In hearings and public statements, EPA Adminstrator McCarthy and others involved with the mine project have skirted responsibility. It is time for the EPA to be honest with Congress and honest with the American people. The agency should admit its failings, admit an engineer was not involved throughout the entire process on the project, and create safeguards to prevent another catastrophe like the Gold King Mine spill from happening again.”

Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) released a statement in late October admonishing the EPA over its failure to prevent the Gold King Mine spill, calling the EPA’s actions “negligent” and “inexcusable.”

In a committee hearing in September, Westerman, Smith, and other members of the Science Committee were able to question officials under oath about the spill. Not only was the EPA not forthcoming with Colorado officials – in some cases not notifying authorities until 24 hours after the spill – but it did not respond to the Committee’s request for information in a timely manner.

Westerman filed a complaint on Sept. 21 against the EPA with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Professions and Occupations. Westerman, a professional engineer, said at the time he believed the Environmental Protection Agency had been involved in the “practice of engineering” as defined by Colorado state law and was not competent or licensed to practice engineering.

U.S. Department of the Interior: Technical Evaluation of the Gold King Mine Incident (.pdf)

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