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New Email Undermines Republican Claims of Retaliation Against EPA Official in Flint Water Crisis Investigation

Mar 17, 2016
Press Release

RAPID RESPONSE:

 

New Email Undermines Republican Claims of Retaliation Against EPA Official in Flint Water Crisis Investigation

 

Washington, D.C. (Mar. 17, 2016)—A newly-obtained email written by EPA official Miguel Del Toral directly contradicts claims made by Republicans at Tuesday’s hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that he was retaliated against by the EPA.  Del Toral’s email also directly contradicts claims that Del Toral made these allegations directly to Republican Committee Members while they visited Flint this past Saturday.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz grilled Susan Hedman, the former EPA Region 5 Administrator, and publicly accused her of retaliating against Mr. Del Toral by forcing him to take ethics training.  When Ms. Hedman strongly denied his accusation, Chaffetz criticized her further, stating, “You really believe that.”

A new email has now been produced to the Committee written by Del Toral himself that directly contradicts Chairman Chaffetz’s claim.  Del Toral wrote:  “I was never required by anyone to take ethics training because of Flint or for any other reason other than the mandatory ethics training required to be taken annually by all EPA employees.”

In addition, at Tuesday’s hearing, Chaffetz and fellow Republican Committee Member Tim Walberg suggested that they obtained these allegations directly from Del Toral when they met with him during a trip to Flint on Saturday.

For example, when Hedman denied Republican accusations of retaliation on Tuesday, Rep. Walberg stated:  “Mr. Del Toral certainly has a different recollection of it, as well as responses to him.  And I had the opportunity to talk with him in Flint this Saturday as well.  Very different from what we are being told here, and that is the concern.”

In the same email, Del Toral also contradicted this claim, writing:  “[T]he first I heard about my ‘meeting’ with Chaffetz was via an email from Nicole Cantello who forwarded an article to me which stated that I had met with him.  As I told Nicole, the only time I saw him was at the open house in Flint last Saturday.  I was at the corrosion control booth and he stopped by, shook my hand, we exchanged greetings, and he moved on.  Same thing with Congressman Walberg.  Hi and bye.”

Click here to view the new email. 

Issues: 
114th Congress