Armed EPA raid in Alaska

We don’t need soldier equivalents stationed in every town in America:

The recent uproar over armed EPA agents descending on a tiny Alaska mining town is shedding light on the fact that 40 federal agencies – including nearly a dozen typically not associated with law enforcement — have armed divisions.

The agencies employ about 120,000 full-time officers authorized to carry guns and make arrests, according to a June 2012 Justice Department report.

Though most Americans know agents within the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Federal Bureau of Prisons carry guns, agencies such as the Library of Congress and Federal Reserve Board employing armed officers might come as a surprise.

The incident that sparked the renewed interest and concern occurred in late August when a team of armed federal and state officials descended on the tiny Alaska gold mining town of Chicken, Alaska.

The Environmental Protection Agency, whose armed agents in full body armor participated, acknowledged taking part in the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force investigation, which it said was conducted to look for possible violations of the Clean Water Act.

However, EPA officials denied the operation was a “raid” and didn’t address speculation about whether it was connected to possible human and drug trafficking.

“Imagine coming up to your diggings, only to see agents swarming over it like ants, wearing full body armor, with jackets that say “POLICE” emblazoned on them, and all packing side arms,” gold miner C.R. Hammond told the Alaska Dispatch.

The other federal agencies participating in the operation were the FBI, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and the Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Park Service.

Read more:

6 thoughts on “Armed EPA raid in Alaska

  1. I find this very far-fetched. Here is an organizational chart of EPA Region 10. Region 10 is based in Seattle, but obviously has a field office located in Anchorage, given the considerable distance to the rest of Region 10.

    Note that there is an Office of Compliance and Enforcement based in Seattle, and an Alaska Operations office as well.

    If an operation occurred involving EPA Enforcement personnel, it would have had to have been coordinated between those two groups.

    I’d suggest calling them, and asking what really happened.

    And I can tell you that when I retired from U.S. EPA Region 5 in 2007, nobody, absolutely nobody, in EPA was armed. 99% of compliance activity consisted of letters and phone calls back and forth noting instances of apparent violations, and inquiring what the party was going to do and when to achieve compliance status. And if there was no movement to achieve compliance, or very belated movement, then we would seek fines under civil portions of the statutes.

    Criminal sanctions were usually reserved for cases of outright falsehoods about contamination conditions, especially if physical harm came to workers or the environment from such falsehoods.

    If you had reason to think you might encounter a physically dangerous situation – from the people involved, that is – not the pollutants – you were supposed to go through channels working with the Dept. of Justice to get a U.S. Marshal assigned to your case, who would accompany you into the field.

    By the way, a jacket that says “POLICE” doesn’t say “EPA” does it?

    And of course those assholes at Faux News have been screaming how anybody from any organization that might protect either the environment or workers is totally out of control and a member of the Gestapo for the past 20 years, haven’t they?.

    Well, fuck Tom Delay and fuck Fox News. Unless things have done a 180 degree turn around since 2007 and been stood on their head, EPA would never, never decide that a first contact in some enforcement situation would be some kind of armed approach.

    The first response would be to ask/negotiate how to bring a situation of non-compliance into compliance. Only if we got a response of “fuck you damn gummit pigs; I’ll shoot anybody from your damn office who shows up” would we have thought ‘guess we’d better get some armed federal marshals’.

  2. I’m gonna take a guess and say this has to do with all the teabagger and militia nuts with large home arsenals who are planning to make their last stand against government agents from ANY department.

  3. Susie, I have a hunch the story was a typical Faux News hatchet job where they twisted themselves into wild contortions – even more so than the pretzel that “W” choked on – which was if memory serves me declared to be a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ – just so they could throw in the term “EPA” somewhere in the story.

    That’s ‘dog whistle’ stuff to these jerkoffs. Wouldn’t surprise me if some other agent out there was caught red-handed passing out advice on how to avoid compliance with the Dred Scott decision.

    The EPA guy was probably some lone guy out of many other agencies. He was probably trying to take a sample of ‘Lake Cyanide’. That constituted the ‘swarming like ants’ stuff.

    Don’t get me wrong – I deplore the disgusting degree to which many other government departments have been militarized in the name of “security” of this and that. (Which reminds me that your line the other day about ‘but what kind of security do we have if our food is full of poisons’? Classic – I’ll have to write that down.

    But my old group at EPA isn’t one of those departments.

    Well, provided we get the Sudetenland, of course.

  4. Yeah, but the original post was Radley Balko, who specializes in writing about the militarization of police. He probably knows more about this stuff than anybody.

Comments are closed.