WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican lawmaker says the head of the Environmental Protection Agency should be impeached.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar accuses EPA administrator Gina McCarthy of lying to Congress about an agency rule to protect small streams, tributaries and wetlands.
"McCarthy not only broke the law by lying to Congress, but in doing so she also lied to the American people in order to force misguided and overreaching regulations, which have no scientific basis, down our throats," Gosar said in a statement, adding that EPA mandates under President Barack Obama "will kill hundreds of thousands of jobs and cause untold economic harm to communities throughout the country."
In a letter to members of Congress, Gosar accused McCarthy of perjuring herself several times this year while testifying before congressional committees on the clean water rule. In each case, McCarthy was discussing details about how the rule was promulgated and its legal justification. Gosar and other Republicans oppose the rule and have supported GOP-led efforts to block it in Congress.
An EPA spokeswoman called McCarthy "a dedicated public servant who performs her duties with the utmost respect for the law."
Gosar's resolution "has zero merit and is nothing more than political theater," spokeswoman Liz Purchia said Monday. "Protecting public health and the environment for all Americans should not be a political issue."
A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican who is not related to the EPA chief, said Gosar's plan would not move forward in the House. "There's no plan to impeach Gina McCarthy," said spokesman Matt Sparks.
A federal court ruling blocked the water measure in 13 central and Western states, but the EPA has said it is going forward with the rule in 37 other states. The EPA says the rule safeguards drinking water for millions of Americans and clarifies that certain waterways fall under federal protection after two Supreme Court rulings left the reach of the Clean Water Act uncertain.
Sara Chieffo, vice president for government affairs for the League of Conservation Voters, said Gosar's impeachment bid is "yet another example of what great lengths certain members of Congress will go to to do polluters' bidding and go after the EPA."
Gosar, in his third term, has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from electric utilities, the oil and gas industry and mining companies, campaign finance records show.
The impeachment resolution is supported by the libertarian activist group FreedomWorks. Nineteen House Republicans have co-sponsored Gosar's resolution.
Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC