- The Washington Times - Friday, August 21, 2015

The chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee called Friday on EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to testify before the panel on the Animas River wastewater spill triggered by an EPA-led crew.

The hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 9, represents the first congressional hearing announced so far on the devastating spill, although at least two other House committees and a Senate committee are considering taking action.

Ms. McCarthy has apologized on the agency’s behalf after EPA contractors accidentally uncorked three million gallons of toxic orange sludge from the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, which quickly spread to northern New Mexico and the Navajo Nation.

“After spilling millions of gallons of toxic chemicals into the Animas River, the EPA has an obligation to be forthcoming about what went wrong and potential long-term impacts on local communities,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, who chairs the committee.

The agency has come under fire for waiting 24 hours before notifying state and local authorities about the Aug. 5 blowout at the inactive mine.

“Weeks after the spill, families and businesses who depend on the Animas River continue to deal with uncertainty and limited information,” Mr. Smith said in a statement. “As the agency entrusted by the American people to protect the environment and ensure the nation’s waters are clean, the EPA should be held to the highest standard.”

“The Science Committee needs to hear from the EPA about steps it is taking to repair the damage and to prevent this from ever occurring again,” he said.

The mine continues to leak about 600 gallons of orange wastewater per minute, which is being captured in sediment pools and treated before being released, according to EPA officials.

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