With western states still dealing with the fallout from the Colorado mine spill that a government investigation blamed on the EPA, Sen. John Barrasso, (R-Wyo.), weighed in on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee’s plans for a field hearing and to subpoena EPA Chief Gina McCarthy.
“They caused this spill, it has been devastating to the communities and states involved and then we’re having this hearing next Friday which is Earth Day and instead President Obama and Gina McCarthy want to be in New York to sign the agreement from the Paris climate deal when the EPA caused this poisoning of a river right here in the United States. It’s completely irresponsible,” Barrasso told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
Barrasso discussed the lack of information being provided to the communities in the region that use the water impacted by the toxic spill.
“They’ve been irresponsible in a number of ways. Right now we need to have testing to know how the water is at any given time so people can know when they can use it and when they can’t use it. The EPA has been very slow with the monitoring, with the testing, they want to give you the results, not current time results, which is what people on the ground need,” said Barrasso.
Barrasso then questioned the lack of reforms at the agency since the spill last summer.
“The EPA said ‘we’ve taken responsibility.’ No one has been fired, no one’s been punished, no one’s been disciplined at all. They just want to kind of forget about this,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso raised concerns of a double-standard in how government agencies and private companies are treated when such spills occur.
“If a private company had caused this spill, there would be all kinds of repercussions, the government would be all over them. So the government has this sort of two-sided approach; what they need to do versus what a private company needs to do. It’s a double-standard and it’s wrong. The EPA has gotten too big, too unaccountable and they need to be held accountable,” said Barrasso.
The EPA’s expanding power since its inception in the early 1970s was also a concern for Barrasso.
“The EPA has gone well beyond its original authority when it came into place in the early ‘70s in terms of issues where it was needed at the time. But they have become such a purifying agent in some ways and such a contaminating agent in others. They need to be held accountable; We have unaccountable, unelectable bureaucrats in charge there,” Barrasso said.
Barrasso explained why the subpoena for next week’s hearing was necessary.
“The reason we had to do this subpoena is because they didn’t want to show up, that’s what to me is so offensive. They said they would send some written testimony, they were not willing to come and answer questions. We haven’t had to issue a subpoena from that committee since the days of Jack Abramoff and the criminal activities that were going on back then,” said Barrasso.
Barrasso also questioned the agency’s interpretation of the law to support its agenda.
“The EPA has been re-interpreting the laws, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act from years ago. What the EPA has done now has nothing to do with current or new legislation, it’s a re-interpretation of old laws and that’s what they’re using to go after coal, to go after energy, to go after land use, water use in the country, the waters of the U.S. – it’s a land grab essentially,” Barrasso said.