That sums up the attitude of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy who testified before two Senate committees today.
Democratic lawmakers made excuses for the agency while Republicans hammered at McCarthy to take responsibility for the rusty contaminated sludge her agency unleashed on the Animas River and across three states.
And, if PeakNation™ was following the hearings and playing our drinking game, they were spitting and spilling beer all over the place as McCarthy insisted that no one at her agency could be held responsible because the matter was still under investigation.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona, home of the uber pissed Navajo Nation, prefaced every heated question with “Has anyone been fired for …?”
“The agency itself has been held accountable, and we are responding robustly,” McCarthy said over, and over, and over. Has any person actually been held responsible, fired perhaps? The answer was no.
Colorado’s Sen. Cory Gardner attended both hearings, and drilled McCarthy on the agency’s appalling lack of telephone etiquette – downstream users weren’t notified until days after the incident. When Gardner met with EPA officials four days after the spill, he said the feds still couldn’t answer basic questions including how much water continued to seep into the river.
McCarthy’s defense was a rosy recitation of her agency’s response to the crisis of their own making, including all of the assistance they have provided to the Navajo Nation.
Unfortunately, McCarthy skipped out early from the Indian Affairs hearing and missed the testimony of Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye, who reported that the EPA had actually “abandoned” Indian Country, cutting off the transport of fresh water for crops and feed for cattle.
As for the federal government’s outrageous tardiness in informing downstream users about the contamination flowing their way, Begaye knocked it out of the park with this statement: “The only reason they finally informed the Navajo Nation, is you can’t hide an accident when the river turns orange.”
Tune in tomorrow, when McCarthy faces a brutal joint hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Natural Resources Committee.