On September 21, Rep. Bruce Westerman, P.E. (R-AR), an NSPE member, filed an official complaint with the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Professions and Occupations, regarding the August 5, 2015, Gold King Mine disaster. In a September 17 congressional joint oversight committee hearing, Westerman asked Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy why a licensed PE was not in responsible charge of the Gold King Mine project. Learn more.
In his press release, Westerman, a licensed professional engineer, said he believed the EPA had been involved in the “practice of engineering” as defined by Colorado law and were not competent or licensed to practice engineering. “Because the EPA has not demonstrated a Colorado licensed professional engineer was engaged during the planning and design stages nor part of the Site Removal Team that was responsible for the Gold King Mine spill, the EPA was in direct violation of the Colorado statute, and should be subject to the same consequences any other entity in violation of this law would face,” Westerman’s complaint said. “I believe the spill could have been prevented, or at the very least, significantly mitigated, if the EPA had followed the engineering practice laws established to safeguard life, health, and property and to promote the public welfare.”
NSPE has played a critical role in this issue, working very closely with Westerman’s office, as well as congressional committees, on this fundamental issue. NSPE urges EPA and all federal agencies to amend their requirements, mandating a licensed professional engineer perform all engineering services. NSPE further encourages the EPA to fully disclose all pertinent documents and provide definitive information about whether a licensed PE was in responsible charge of the project. NSPE will continue to provide updates to members as this matter progresses.