Republican Sen. David Vitter claimed an environmental group tried to skew survey results regarding the construction of a new Alaskan mine, which has recently put Republicans and the Environmental Protection Agency at odds.
Vitter accused the group, Trout Unlimited, of “bribing” people to comment on a study examining the environmental impact of the new mine by offering them a chance to win a free fishing trip, according to Fox News.
The study, which was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, looked into the effects of the proposed copper and gold mine — named Pebble Mine — on its surrounding the Alaskan ecosystem, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
“This is a pretty low tactic to try and bribe support of their efforts to preemptively kill a job-creating project,” Vitter said. “Skewing the public’s response is really unhelpful in the process to get an unbiased review.”
The Environmental Protection Agency has been accused of trying to block the mine’s construction, in part by conducting the study advertised by Trout Unlimited.
In response to Vitter’s criticism, Tim Bristol, a Trout Unlimited spokesman, said Vitter should “consider coming (to the location of the mine) and meeting local people, 80 percent of who oppose Pebble Mine, before making such a harsh judgments.”
The study had received about 620,000 comments when its response period closed over the weekend.