EPA agents are wearing body armor and carrying guns to check on Clean Water Act violations? In late August, agents of the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force descended on several mines around the town of Chicken, and may have been there to check section 404 violations of the Clean Water Act — discharges into rivers, lakes and oceans.
According to the Alaska Dispatch: “Both Alaska U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich have inquired into the task force’s actions. Congressman Don Young is also looking into it. They have been having a difficult time getting straight answers from the EPA.”
In typical protocol, EPA officials have not offered any public explanations. The Dispatch reports that in a conference call last week with congressional officials, the EPA said body armor and guns were used due to information pertaining to drugs and human trafficking in the Chicken area. Murkowski wasn’t buying the EPA line: “Their explanation — that there are concerns within the area of rampant drug trafficking and human trafficking going on — sounds wholly concocted to me.”
Agents with body armor showing up at a gold mine to enforce the Clean Water Act is an invitation to disaster. A confrontation between unannounced armed agents and armed miners could end in a hail of gunfire.
The task force contained members of: EPA, FBI, Coast Guard, DOD, and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation. Miners are pressing the EPA for a sit-down meeting and explanations.
A raid by armed government officials packing guns and checking on Clean Water Act violations could never happen to U.S. farmers.
The EPA would never be involved in such heavy-handed behavior.
For more on the EPA, see EPA’s Pinocchio nose grows with farmer privacy scandal or EPA loves privacy rights, at least its own
For the complete Dispatch story, see Gold miners near Chicken cry foul over ‘heavy-handed’ EPA raids
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