Saturday, December 16, 2017

Smith leads House hearing on EPA's mine-discharge mishap

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U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the Science, Space and Technology Committee, led the first congressional hearing on the Gold King Mine spill, which was triggered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inspection activity on Aug. 5.

“The EPA should be held accountable,” Smith said. “The same standards that the EPA applies to private companies should also apply to the EPA itself. The EPA’s negligence is especially inexcusable since there were known procedures that could have prevented the river’s pollution.”

The spill released 3 million gallons of heavy-metal contaminated water into the Animas River and carried from the Colorado mine into New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and the Navajo Nation. The hearing included testimony from EPA officials and the agency’s contractor, as well as local and tribal officials from areas affected by the spill.

“This committee asked for information from the EPA almost a month ago, and we have yet to receive all the documents that were requested,” Smith said. “Given the EPA’s consistent failure to provide information to this committee and the American people, the EPA can be assured that our oversight efforts will continue.”

Smith has represented Texas's 21st District in the U.S. House since 1987. Born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1947, Smith was educated at Yale University and serves on the following committees: Science, Space and Technology; Homeland Security; and Judiciary.

Organizations in this story

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1200 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC - 20460

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