EPA Chief Gina McCarthy — who pledged to hold her agency accountable for the Animas River spill — is off to a predictably bad start by hiding from Congress, reports Valerie Richardson of the Washington Times.
The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is the first congressional panel with EPA oversight responsibility to hold a hearing, which is scheduled for Wednesday.
In her stead, McCarthy will dispatch another EPA official who is much lower on the rung of authority. No, not her deputy – not even someone who works inside the administrator’s office.
Appearing will be Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
That’s an office buried inside DC headquarters that oversees – you guessed it – Superfund! Also on Stanislaus’s to-do list, is advancement of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.
EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison said in an email Thursday that Mr. Stanislaus is “uniquely qualified to represent the EPA” at the hearing.
We predict there will be very little explanation of how the EPA managed to muck up the cleanup, and a whole lot of pontificating as to why Superfund is the perfect remedy to fix the ongoing spill.
Durango Mayor Dean Brookie, who also supports Superfund, is scheduled to appear. However, the fireworks are expected to light up Washington with the testimony of Navajo Nation official Donald Benn.
The Navajos are livid with the federal government for failing to warn anyone in New Mexico about the spill during the first 24 hours. Then making matters worse, the EPA sent truckloads of water contaminated with oil that was intended for livestock and crops on the reservation.
The Navajo Nation is the first entity to announce plans to sue the EPA, and has retained a law firm in California.