BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The focus on a toxic mine spill that fouled rivers in three Western states is shifting to Congress, where lawmakers this week kick off a series of hearings into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accident.
Leading House and Senate Republicans said EPA officials were frustrating their attempts to investigate the spill.
They want documents released explaining how a government cleanup team doing excavation work triggered the release of 3 million gallons of rust-colored sludge from the inactive Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado.
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas suggested the hearings offer the agency a chance to dispel growing suspicions over its actions.
Meanwhile, some Democrats are pursuing a proposal for companies to pay for the cleanup of thousands of abandoned mines across the U.S.