Senate Indian Affairs panel issues subpoena to EPA

FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2015 file photo, water flows through a series of retention ponds built to contain and filter out heavy metals and chemicals from the Gold King mine chemical accident, in the spillway about 1/4 mile downstream from the mine, outside Silverton, Colo. Internal documents released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, Aug. 21, show managers at the EPA were aware of the potential for a catastrophic "blowout" at an abandoned mine that could release "large volumes" of wastewater laced with toxic heavy metals. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate Indian Affairs Committee has issued a subpoena to force the Environmental Protection Agency to testify at a field hearing on a Colorado mine spill that fouled rivers in the West last summer.

Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming and Democrat Jon Tester of Montana approved the subpoena on Wednesday. The document orders EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy or assistant administrator Mathy Stanislaus to testify at the April 22 hearing in Phoenix.

Barrasso and other Republicans had threatened to force McCarthy to testify, but backed down after the EPA said it will make Stanislaus and another high-ranking official available.

Barrasso chairs the Indian Affairs panel, while Tester is the senior Democrat. The committee is investigating a 3 million gallon spill at Colorado’s abandoned Gold King Mine.

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