Republican Congressman Wants to Impeach Gina McCarthy

Albert H. Teich /

In an es­cal­a­tion of the right’s anti-EPA fer­vor, Rep. Paul Gos­ar is pre­par­ing to file le­gis­la­tion to open up im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency Ad­min­is­trat­or Gina Mc­Carthy.

Gos­ar is cir­cu­lat­ing a let­ter to col­leagues and plans to in­tro­duce a res­ol­u­tion this week call­ing for Mc­Carthy’s im­peach­ment, char­ging that she de­livered false testi­mony be­fore Con­gress when testi­fy­ing about a clean-wa­ter rule.

“Per­jury and mak­ing false state­ments to Con­gress are an af­front to the fun­da­ment­al prin­ciples of our re­pub­lic and the rule of law, and such be­ha­vi­or can­not be tol­er­ated,” Gos­ar’s let­ter states. “This bill holds Ad­min­is­trat­or Mc­Carthy ac­count­able for her blatant de­cep­tions and un­law­ful con­duct.”

Ac­cord­ing to Gos­ar, Mc­Carthy lied be­fore Con­gress when testi­fy­ing about the Wa­ters of the United States rule, which cla­ri­fied the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s au­thor­ity un­der the 1972 Clean Wa­ter Act and gave it au­thor­ity over more streams, wa­ter­ways, and trib­u­tar­ies.

Much of Gos­ar’s ac­cus­a­tions have to do with the sci­entif­ic back­ing for the wa­ter rule and con­sulta­tion with the Army Corps of En­gin­eers. Memos re­leased after the rule’s fi­nal­iz­a­tion have shown that Army Corps Maj. Gen. John Pe­abody ex­pressed con­cerns to As­sist­ant Army Sec­ret­ary for Civil Works Jo-El­len Darcy about changes be­ing made to the fi­nal rule, in­clud­ing the sci­entif­ic jus­ti­fic­a­tion for some de­cisions. Through a spokes­man, the EPA de­clined to com­ment.

Gos­ar points to a Ju­ly 9 hear­ing be­fore the House Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­no­logy Com­mit­tee where Mc­Carthy de­scribed a de­cision in the fi­nal rule to ex­tend fed­er­al reg­u­la­tion to wet­lands and ponds with­in 4,000 feet of the nearest trib­u­tary, set­ting a defin­i­tion for “sig­ni­fic­ant nex­us.” That de­cision, Mc­Carthy said, came from “the know­ledge and ex­pert­ise of our staff, the in­form­a­tion that we re­ceived from the pub­lic and com­ments, and the sci­ence that’s avail­able to us.”

The Army Corps memos show that of­fi­cials there thought the 4,000-foot cutoff was ar­bit­rary and could open the rule up to leg­al chal­lenges.

Gos­ar also points to a June 10 House Trans­port­a­tion and In­fra­struc­ture hear­ing where Mc­Carthy said that “all of the changes that the Army Corps was in­ter­ested in mak­ing … had been fully sat­is­fied,” a state­ment the Re­pub­lic­an con­gress­man said con­sti­tuted per­jury. Gos­ar also said that Mc­Carthy did not ini­tially say that the Corps of En­gin­eers had made her aware of the leg­al and sci­entif­ic ques­tions.

The Wa­ters of the United States rule has proved to be one of the EPA’s most con­tro­ver­sial, with op­pon­ents say­ing it gives EPA too much reg­u­lat­ory power over cer­tain bod­ies of wa­ter and over­steps states’ rights. Twenty-eight states in total have chal­lenged the rule in court across sev­er­al law­suits, and a fed­er­al judge in Au­gust gran­ted an in­junc­tion block­ing im­ple­ment­a­tion of the rule in 13 states.

An aide for House Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Kev­in Mc­Carthy said simply, “There is no plan to vote to im­peach Gina Mc­Carthy.”

It’s not the first time Gos­ar has taken such ac­tion against the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. Last year, he called for the im­peach­ment of then-At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Eric Hold­er, hav­ing pre­vi­ously spear­headed a suc­cess­ful bid to hold Hold­er in con­tempt of Con­gress.

(Image via Albert H. Teich / )

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