Rep. Westerman, P.E., Asks EPA Why Licensed PE Was Not in Responsible Charge of Gold King Mine

Thursday, September 17, 2015

At a joint hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held on September 17, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy testified about the role of the EPA in the August 5 Gold King Mine blowout that resulted in a three-million gallon toxic spill into the Animas and San Juan rivers. Rep. Bruce Westerman, P.E., (R-AR), an NSPE member, asked McCarthy why a licensed professional engineer was not in responsible charge of the EPA’s project at Gold King Mine, as required under Colorado statute. McCarthy declined to answer, but even she was surprised at how few qualified design professionals are employed by EPA in the affected Region 8. NSPE is working very closely on this issue with Westerman and his office, as well as several congressional committees. NSPE has urged EPA and all federal agencies to review their practices and requirements. A licensed professional engineer should be in responsible charge of all projects that constitute the practice of engineering. NSPE will provide updates on the progress of these efforts.