Inhofe Statement on DOI’s Release of Gold King Mine Report

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) announced its report on the Gold King Mine blow out that occurred on Aug. 5:

“The Department of the Interior’s report of the Gold King mine incident raises significant new questions about the events leading up to the spill and why EPA and its contractors ignored the risks that led to the blowout. It is astonishing that the Bureau of Reclamation had the lead for conducting this so-called independent review when, as we now find out, Reclamation had played such an extensive role over several years in advising EPA about the cleanup of abandoned mine sites in the Animas River basin.  In fact, the report indicates EPA had asked Reclamation to advise on the plans for the Gold King mine but, for some unknown reason, EPA allowed the work to proceed causing the blowout before Reclamation staff visited the site.  The report indicates little to no engineering analysis was done at the Gold King mine site but, as a peer reviewer with the Army Corps of Engineers apparently noted, the report fails to address the internal events at EPA leading up the blowout.  We will be continuing to press both EPA and the Department for a complete, unvarnished accounting of what happened to cause the blowout at the Gold King mine.”

On Aug. 11, Inhofe released a statement on EPA’s Gold King mine spill which can be read here.

On Sept. 16, the Senate EPW committee held an oversight hearing titled, Oversight of the Cause, Response, and Impacts of EPA’s Gold King Mine Disaster which can be viewed here.  Sens. Cory Gardener (R-Colo.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) requested the hearing.