McCain: Subpoena EPA chief over mine spill

McCain: Subpoena EPA chief over mine spill
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Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainEx-McSally aide pleads guilty to stealing over 0K in campaign funds DOJ: Arizona recount could violate civil rights laws Cheney fight stokes cries of GOP double standard for women MORE (R-Ariz.) wants a Senate committee to subpoena the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appear before the panel later this month. 

The Senate Indian Affairs Committee will hold a hearing in Phoenix on April 22 to probe the impact of a mine waste spill, caused last year by an EPA team, on the Navajo Nation. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthyGina McCarthyOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water Feehery: Biden seems intent on repeating the same mistakes of Jimmy Carter MORE, McCain said, should appear at the hearing to discuss the matter. 


The committee had previously asked the EPA to provide a witness for the hearing. An agency spokeswoman said the committee never asked McCarthy to testify at the hearing, and  offered to send written testimony from another official instead.

“EPA must be present at this hearing,” McCain said at a Wednesday hearing of the Indian Affairs Committee. “I respectively request the committee issue a subpoena for EPA administrator Gina McCarthy to appear at the field hearing scheduled for April 22, 2016 in Phoenix, Ariz.”

Committee Chairman John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoBiden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push Republican seeks to use Obama energy policies to criticize Biden  EPA proposes major rule to reduce certain greenhouse gases MORE (R-Wyo.) agreed with McCain, and said he “and others on the committee” would work with him to issue a subpoena. 

McCarthy testified before the Indian Affairs Committee on the Gold King Mine spill in September, one month after an agency team released 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into Colorado's Animas River. 

The waste eventually weaved through several states and tribal lands. McCain said the Navajo Nation, which was heavily impacted by the spill, deserves answers on how it came about. 

“I would urge the support of all members of the committee, on behalf of the Navajo Nation, who have urgently asked that the EPA be there, because there’s a lot more to be done to repair the damage of 3 million gallons of toxic wastewater that’s been dumped on their lands,” McCain said. 

The EPA says it has spent more than $1.2 million Gold King clean-up costs for the Navajo Nation, including a $157,000 agreement with tribal government agencies for costs the tribes incurred because of the spill.  

Also Wednesday, the EPA said it is considering adding Colorado sites along the Animas River to a list of disaster areas eligible for Superfund clean-up, the Denver Post reports

Bill Gardner, the town administrator of nearby Silverton, Colo., told the paper local work with the EPA “is paying off.”

"It shows they are true to their word that there is going to be a commitment from them, and that we are going to move forward quicker rather than slower," Gardner said. 

—This post was updatrd at 7:30 p.m.