The chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources stated that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) removal of a natural plug sealing the Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado last August was “done on purpose,” challenging Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to retract her previous testimony that the resulting blowout was “an accident.”
Jewell, whose agency conducted an independent review of the environmental disaster that affected three states, testified on Dec. 9, 2015: “We did not see any deliberate attempt to breach a mine. It was an accident.”
But committee chairman Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) pointed out at a congressional oversight hearing on Monday that according to a subpoenaed email from one of Jewell’s own employees, EPA workers had deliberately been removing parts of the Gold King Mine’s natural plug when the blowout occurred.
“There was nothing unintentional about EPA’s actions with regard to breaching the mine. They fully intended to dig out the plug and breach it.