Inhofe, Rounds Question EPA Statements on Gold King Mine Spill

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, today sent a letter to Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeking clarification and correction, if necessary, about McCarthy’s testimony at the Senate EPW’s Sept. 16 hearing on the Gold King Mine blowout.  The letter also requests communications between EPA, the Department of the Interior, and the Army Corps of Engineers about an Interior Department review of the causes of the Gold King blowout.

Inhofe and Rounds began, “At the EPW Committee hearing [on September 16, 2015], you were asked several questions about the actions and events leading up to and immediately following the blowout, but you deferred answering many of them, claiming the answers would be provided instead by DOI’s purported independent review that was ongoing at the time of the hearing. 

“A series of follow-up questions about the EPA’s work at the site were sent to you on October 20, 2015, for the hearing record,” they continued. “Three months have passed, and the EPW Committee has not yet received your responses. Since these questions for the record were submitted, several events have called into question the accuracy and completeness of your September 16, 2015, testimony before the EPW Committee.” 

“Accordingly, given our concerns that your testimony appears at odds with facts showing extensive coordination between EPA and BOR and other DOI officials with the Gold King site and possibly about the DOI’s review of the blowout itself, please clarify whether your testimony that DOI did not have a conflict of interest, that its review would be independent, and that EPA officials had no involvement in DOI’s review remain accurate and complete,” the letter concluded. 


On Nov. 2, Inhofe and Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate EPW Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight, sent a letter to the Hon. Estevan Lopez, commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) at the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), requesting “complete and unredacted” information from BOR to conduct oversight on the Gold King mine spill that occurred near Silverton, Colo., on Aug. 5, 2015.

On Oct. 22, Inhofe released a statement after the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced its report on the Gold King Mine blow out that occurred on Aug. 5, 2015.

On Sept. 16, the Senate EPW Committee held a hearing, Oversight of the Cause, Response, and Impacts of EPA’s Gold King Mine Spill.

To view the full text of the letter, click here.