Sen. Sullivan Grills EPA Chief Over Offensive Comments About Alaskan Native Gifts

Cortney O'Brien
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Posted: Mar 05, 2015 8:00 PM
Sen. Sullivan Grills EPA Chief Over Offensive Comments About Alaskan Native Gifts

Gina McCarthy, administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, overstayed her welcome in Alaska last year. When Alaskan native tribes honored the EPA worker with gifts, she returned the favor by telling the Wall Street Journal she threw one of the “f-ing things away” and that the moose meat she was given could “gag a maggot.”

During Wednesday’s Environment and Public Works Committee, Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) grilled McCarthy about her ‘disturbing’ comments that were featured in the largely positive Wall Street Journal profile.

“A lot of people saw that as a glowing article,” he said. “Most people in Alaska saw it as an incredible disrespect to the people of my state.”

Sullivan then offered McCarthy the opportunity to apologize for her insensitive comments. She did so, yet also insisted her words were ‘taken out of context.’

"I'm happy to apologize for those remarks,” she said. “I will tell you they were taken out of context, but it doesn't matter because they hurt individuals and tribes that I care about."

Sullivan nodded and agreed that her words had wounded the people of Alaska, but readily accepted her apology. 

During the hearing, the senator also chided McCarthy and her agency for not being accountable to the people they are supposed to serve and ‘rushing’ out rules without pausing to consider their legality. Watch the entire exchange below: