WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent the following letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy regarding the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the EPA’s poor and outright dismissive response to the situation:

Dear Administrator McCarthy:

I write to you about the water crisis that Flint, Michigan is experiencing.  The distrust that Flint’s residents, and millions of other citizens, have for our government is disturbing.  It is widely reported that your agency contributed to the cynicism people are feeling, particularly in Flint.  

Revelations that an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official ignored scientific findings and lied to the people of Flint come just weeks after finding that your agency could have prevented the Gold King Mine Spill.  It is no wonder that the American people are growing ever more dissatisfied with the level of service that our government agencies provide.   

The government’s first obligation is to protect the health and welfare of its citizens.  Allegations that the EPA ignored or even hid scientific data about people being poisoned are deeply disturbing.  We may be at different ends of the political spectrum, but I want to support your mission to “protect human health and the environment.”  However, I am deeply concerned about the culture of an agency that consistently persecutes honest business, promotes special interest and liberal political darlings like the ethanol industry, and then blatantly ignores or even covers up a public health crisis. 

The EPA must refocus on its core mission and stop promoting political agendas like ethanol, alternative energy, and cap-and-trade policies that do more harm to our economy than they do good for our environment.  It is clear that your agency is too absorbed with these issues and is missing things that cause immediate harm to our citizens.  First and foremost, the EPA must fulfill its core duties.     

To begin the process of restoring trust in your agency, you should recommit to fulfilling President Obama’s promise of leading the most open and transparent government.  Open government ensures accountability, and your agency must commit to opening your scientific studies to the American people.

I would also like you to address the following questions:

• Was the EPA in contact with researchers from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) regarding Flint, Michigan’s water supply?  
o Please provide all correspondence between Virginia Tech and the EPA to me.
• Did the EPA learn from any other sources that Flint’s water supply was contaminated? 
• Did the EPA collect its own water samples in Flint? 
o If yes, what were the results?
o If no, why not?
• Are there other water supplies that the EPA is currently investigating for possible lead contamination?

Please respond to this letter by February 18.  

Thank you for your attention.


Chairman Emeritus
House Committee on Science, Space & Technology