Washington D.C. –Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Waters of the U.S. rule which a federal judge in North Dakota has blocked from taking effect on Friday, August 28th.
Chairman Smith: “The EPA’s vastly unpopular Waters of the U.S. rule would begin a new era of government control over private property. Over the last year and a half, the EPA has continually ignored the legitimate concerns of states, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, farmers and landowners who will be impacted. The irony of this rule is not lost on millions of Americans. While the agency has been frantically working to regulate the trickle of small streams in Americans' backyards, the EPA has failed at its core mission to protect the environment and is responsible for a toxic spill that polluted waterways impacting at least three different states. The Waters of the U.S. rule should be halted until EPA can clean up its act and get its priorities in order.”
Chairman Smith has raised numerous concerns regarding the scope of this far-reaching rule and the EPA’s scientific justifications for it. Earlier this month, Smith along with several Republican Science Committee members sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s questioning her defense of the science behind the Waters of the U.S. rule at a July 9, 2015 hearing.
In May, Smith voted in favor of the Regulatory Integrity Protection Act of 2015 (H.R. 1732), a bill he cosponsored that would force the EPA to withdraw its Waters of the U.S. rule until the agency appropriately engages with stakeholders on the rule’s impacts.
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Washington D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) released the following statement today after the Environmental Protection Agency failed to provide documents and communication the Committee requested by August 24th concerning the agency’s involvement in the Gold King Mine spill.
Chairman Lamar Smith: “It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the EPA failed to meet the House Science Committee’s reasonable deadline in turning over documents pertaining to the Gold King Mine spill. These documents are essential to the Committee’s ongoing investigation and our upcoming hearing on September 9th. But more importantly, this information matters to the many Americans directly affected in western states, who are still waiting for answers from the EPA.
“Even in the face of self-imposed environmental disaster, this administration continues to prioritize its extreme agenda over the interests and well-being of Americans. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is currently crusading on climate change action in Japan while President Obama, who has yet to visit the areas affected by the spill, is touring the U.S. to tout EPA’s latest regulation that will do little to impact climate change and will only further burden Americans with higher electric bills. It is no wonder the majority of Americans feel Washington no longer works for them.”
Chairman Smith first requested communication and documents from the EPA in an August 10th letter. Among other things, the Committee requested documents and materials relating to the work that caused the August 5th spill, and potential risks that chemicals and toxins could pose to animals and humans. While the EPA has publicly released some documents requested by the Committee, it has failed to turn over the majority of the requested documentation to date.
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee has requested the presence of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and the president of EPA’s contractor, Environmental Restoration, LLC, to testify at a hearing on Wednesday September 9th at 10:00am ET.
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Washington D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today announced a Committee request for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to testify at an upcoming hearing on the agency’s role in the Animas River spill.
Chairman Lamar Smith: “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. Weeks after the spill, families and businesses who depend on the Animas River continue to deal with uncertainty and limited information. 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.”
The Science, Space, and Technology Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday September 9th at 10:00am ET to hear directly from the EPA about events that took place at the Gold King Mine in Colorado that led to the Animas River spill. Read More
Washington D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans for new regulations restricting methane emissions. The proposed rule would impose costly new restrictions on oil and natural gas, despite industry efforts that have already drastically reduced emissions in recent years.
Chairman Lamar Smith: “The EPA's proposed methane rule is yet another example of the Obama administration's war on American energy jobs. The EPA's own data shows that methane emissions in the United States decreased by almost 15% between 1990 and 2013, yet EPA is forging ahead with this extraneous and unnecessary regulation. Instead of conspiring with extreme environmental interests, EPA should stop punishing cooperative industry stakeholders and start partnering with them in their current efforts to capture methane in a responsible manner. The EPA’s opposition to responsible, market-driven, ‘all-of-the-above’ domestic energy development is on full display with the announcement of this new regulation.”
Smith has previously criticized the EPA’s release of rules in coordination with environmental stakeholders to the exclusion of energy industry stakeholders. At a July hearing, Committee members asked Administrator Gina McCarthy about the appearance of collusion with environmental groups such as the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters and Michael Goo, former Associate Administrator of the EPA Office of Policy. The emails included evidence that Mr. Goo shared draft documents with outside groups and urged them to write reports in support of EPA actions. Today’s rule also was announced alongside an Environmental Defense Fund report that pushes for increased methane regulations. Read More
Washington D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today requested information and a briefing after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week caused a massive spill that polluted the Animas River in southern Colorado. The EPA accidentally released millions of gallons of contaminated waste water from an abandoned mine into the river, turning it bright orange and initiating local officials to declare a state of emergency. According to the EPA, the spill occurred when one of its cleanup teams was using heavy equipment at the abandoned Gold King Mine near Durango, Colorado.
Photo credit: Jerry McBride/The Durango Herald via AP
Chairman Smith: “It has been five days since the spill and the EPA has failed to answer important questions, including whether the polluted water poses health risks to humans or animals. It is concerning that the agency charged with ensuring that the nation’s waters are clean is reportedly responsible for the toxic water spill at Gold King Mine. A spill of this magnitude could be devastating for the families who live nearby and depend on the Animas River in their daily lives. It is imperative that the EPA quickly take steps to repair the damage from this spill. Moreover, it is vitally important that the EPA learn why this happened and what the agency can do to prevent this from ever occurring again.”
Local officials have warned residents to avoid any contact with the river and believe the spill may have carried heavy metals into the river, including iron, zinc and copper. To avoid further contamination, the EPA has also asked farmers to shut off irrigation from the river.
Smith’s letter requests a detailed briefing from the agency, the results of water analysis conducted on the Animas River, as well as weekly updates.
The full letter can be found here. Read More
Washington D.C. – Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today released the following statement after the president announced the EPA’s final rule to regulate emissions from U.S. power plants. The final rule goes a step further than drafts issued in 2013 and last summer, mandating power plants cut an average of 32 percent of their carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The rule is estimated to cost Americans $8.4 billion annually, making it one of the most costly rules of all time.
Chairman Smith: “Today the Obama administration ignored the outcry from stakeholders and the American public in issuing the final rule on its Power Plan. The Obama administration continues to force costly and unnecessary regulations on hardworking American families. The Clean Air Act was never intended to regulate carbon. Yet the president and his Environmental Protection Agency are sidestepping Congress to push their extreme environmental agenda. The final plan released today will shut down power plants across the country, increase electricity prices and cost thousands of Americans their jobs. And my home state of Texas would be one of the hardest hit. This rule goes well beyond the regulation of power plants, even reaching down into Americans’ homes to control electricity use. Higher energy prices means the price of everything will increase, and low-income families already struggling to make ends meet will be among those most burdened by this costly rule.” Read More