The Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force recently sent eight armed agents wearing body armor to the tiny remote town of Chicken, Alaska to check for dirty water.
Agents descended on the small community of only 17 residents and dozens of seasonal miners in late August.
According to some miners, armed agents checked for violations of the Clean Water Act, which covers how water is discharged.
“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. “Dick” Hammond told the Alaska Dispatch.
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The Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force is controlled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The EPA won't publicly explain why it used armed agents, but during a conference call last week with the Alaska Congressional delegation, the EPA reportedly said it sent in armed agents because of tips from Alaska State Troopers about “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area.”
That claim was quickly shot down by Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Megan Peters: “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,”
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) believes the EPA is lying: “Their explanation, that there are concerns within the area of rampant drug trafficking and human trafficking going on, sounds wholly concocted to me. This seems to have been a heavy-handed, and heavy-armor approach. Why was it so confrontational? The EPA really didn’t have any good answers for this.”
Source: Alaska Dispatch