Rep. Gosar Grills Gina McCarthy on EPA’s Incompetence, Hypocrisy Following Animas River Spill

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after participating in a joint hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Natural Resources Committee investigating the EPA’s Animas River spill:

For Immediate Release

Date: September 17, 2015

Contact: Steven D. Smith

Steven.Smith@mail.house.gov

Today, U.S. Congressman Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (AZ-04) released the following statement after participating in a joint hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and Natural Resources Committee investigating the EPA’s Animas River spill:

“The incompetent and negligent actions of the EPA following the Gold King Mine Spill prove what American small business owners and farmers have known for a long time—The EPA has a blatant double standard when it comes to enforcing the rule of law and has abused its authority in order to promote Obama’s far-left environmental agenda. 


Click the picture above to watch Congressman Gosar’s questions for EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy from today's joint hearing

“Even worse, the complete and utter failure of the EPA to notify multiple states, tribes and local comminutes in the path of the toxic spill put the health and livelihoods of tens of thousands of people at risk. We heard testimony today from Navajo President Russell Begaye that tribes and the American people have zero trust in the EPA’s ability to clean up this mess or hold anyone accountable for this incident.

“The EPA has previously pursued, with full force, criminal charges against private sector companies for spills that were a fraction of the 3 million gallons that the EPA dumped into the Animus River. Yet not a single employee at the EPA has been fired or even put on administrative leave. I demanded accountability at the hearing today and wanted to know which EPA employees are going to jail or being reprimanded for this catastrophic spill. Unfortunately, Administrator McCarthy’s statements about accepting responsibility for this incident appear to be just empty words as she couldn’t effectively answer that question.”
 

Background:

During today’s hearing, Congressman Gosar submitted into the record a Wall Street Journal article published on September 9, 2015, written by a former EPA employee, Bill Wehrum. The article documents a facility in Charleston West Virgina, which accidently spilled roughly 7,500 gallons of toxic chemicals into the local waterway. The EPA’s recent discharge of toxic water was many times larger. Yet the EPA went after the company with “everything it had.”

In the same article, Wehrum also references an incident that occurred during the Clinton Administration where a railroad supervisor overseeing a quarry project hired a contractor who accidently struck a pipeline with a backhoe and contaminated around 1,500 gallons of river water. Though supervisor Hanough was off duty at the time of the incident and had subcontracted the work, the EPA pursued criminal charges against him and he was sentenced to 6 months in prison because he was ultimately responsible for safety on the site.

In yesterday’s hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, when asked whether the government should be held to the same standards as it requires of the public and the private sector, EPA Administrator McCarthy stated that “actually a higher standard would be quite appropriate.”

EPA Administrator McCarthy has tried to say she is taking responsibility for this incident, despite the fact that if this action was caused by a private sector company, EPA Administrator McCarthy would likely recommend that criminal charges be pursued and that huge fines be imposed against the company responsible for the contamination. 

Last week, Congressman Gosar introduced H.RES.417 with 20 other members of Congress, which begins the impeachment process for Administrator Gina McCarthy after she committed perjury and made several false statements at multiple congressional hearings, and as a result, is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. More information on that resolution can be found HERE

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