Sen. David Vitter (R., La.) called on the Justice Department (DOJ) Tuesday to investigate an armed raid by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agents on an Alaskan gold mine that occurred earlier this year.
Vitter, in a letter sent Tuesday to Attorney General Eric Holder, requested the Justice Department investigate the EPA raid, which occurred at a gold mine in Chicken, Alaska earlier this year as part of an investigation into violations of the Clean Water Act.
“The EPA’s use of unnecessary armed intimidation tactics against Alaska miners this summer was extreme, especially to investigate potential Clean Water Act violations from what are essentially a handful of small business owners,” said Vitter, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “At the very least, EPA owes Congress and the American people a thorough explanation, but since they have refused to publicly explain their raid, I hope DOJ will investigate EPA’s excessive actions.”
Vitter and Sen. John Barrasso (R., Wyo.) sent a letter in September calling on EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy to explain the circumstances of the inspection, which rankled Alaskan politicians and residents already distrustful of the nation’s top environmental enforcer.
“According to several news outlets, EPA agents needlessly intimidated miners last month near Chicken while investigating supposed Clean Water Act (CWA) violations, going so far as to wear full body armor and carry guns in confronting the surprised miners,” the senators said.