House panel issues subpoenas on Colo. mine waste spill

AP News
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Posted: Feb 18, 2016 3:46 PM
House panel issues subpoenas on Colo. mine waste spill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican chairman of a House committee has issued subpoenas to the Obama administration seeking documents related to a review of 3-million-gallon wastewater spill from a Colorado mine last summer.

Rep. Rob Bishop of Utah, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, is seeking documents from the Interior Department and the Army Corps of Engineers related to the Army Corps' peer review of Interior's investigation into the spill. The Aug. 5 spill at the long-inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado was caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Bishop said Interior has interfered with the committee's review of the spill and blocked release of important information.

Army Corps officials have "serious reservations" about the accuracy of Interior's report, Bishop said, but "the full nature" of their concerns remains unclear, due to Interior's efforts to redact and withhold documents.

An Interior Department spokeswoman said the agency has been responsive to the committee's requests, including testimony by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, briefings for committee staff and release of thousands of pages of documents.

"Interior is willing to continue to work to accommodate the committee's oversight interest but given our level of cooperation to date, we believe that a subpoena is premature," spokesman Jessica Kershaw said Thursday.

A spokesman for the Army Corps said the agency is reviewing the subpoena.