Tags: EPA | alaska | raid

Heavily Armed EPA Raid for Clean Water Violations Prompts Uproar

By    |   Sunday, 15 September 2013 10:24 AM

The raid on an Alaskan mining operation led by armed agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and numerous other agencies has prompted Alaska officials and members of Congress to demand an explanation for the show of force.

The invasion last month of the remote town of Chicken, Alaska, with a full-time population of 17, consisted of agents dressed in full-body armor to search for violations of the Clean Water Act, and included the Alaska Department of Public Safety, as well as federal agents of the Bureau of Land Management, Coast Guard, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, FBI, and Fish and Wildlife Service.

The incident has caused an uproar on both sides of the political aisle in Washington, and Alaska's governor is calling for an investigation.

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Federal officials initially said gold mine raid was to search for instances of water pollution, but later told Capitol Hill lawmakers the decision to carry guns and wear body armor was based on information from Alaska State Troopers that drug and human trafficking operations in the tiny town were rampant.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told the Alaska Dispatch that explanation sounded "wholly concocted to me," and the account also came as news to the state law enforcement agency.

"The Alaska State Troopers did not advise the EPA that there was dangerous drug activity. We do not have evidence to suggest that is occurring," said Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters.

Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter are demanding answers from federal agencies about the incident, while Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell is also demanding an investigation.

"This level of intrusion and intimidation of Alaskans is absolutely unacceptable," Parnell said in a statement.

Fox News reported that 70 federal agencies have armed employees and that as of 2012 federal agencies employed 120,000 full-time officers who carry guns and are authorized to make arrests.

Formed just a decade ago, the Homeland Security Department employs nearly half of all federal law-enforcement officers, including the Secret Service, Transportation Safety Administration, Coast Guard, federal air marshals, and immigration and custom officials, according to a report cited by Fox News.

The FBI, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Park Service are among 24 agencies with more than 250 full-time armed officers.

However, the Interior Department employs fewer law enforcement officials than smaller or more obscure federal agencies, like the Library of Congress, Federal Reserve Board and the National Institutes of Health.

Armed law enforcement officials are also employed in 33 inspector general offices, the Government Printing office and Postal Service.

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The raid on an Alaskan mining operation led by armed agents of the Environmental Protection Agency and numerous other agencies has prompted Alaska officials and members of Congress to demand an explanation for the show of force. The invasion last month of the remote town of...
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2013-24-15
Sunday, 15 September 2013 10:24 AM
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