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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Alaska raid that left miners fuming

In August 2013, law enforcement agents -- wearing bulletproof vests, waders and side arms -- hopped on all-terrain vehicles and aircraft for a journey into the Alaskan wilderness.
The team from U.S. EPA, the Bureau of Land Management and the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation was on the lookout for Clean Water Act violations at a small gold-mining outpost near the Canadian border, not far from Chicken, Alaska -- population seven in the 2010 census.
Allegations of wrongdoing in the wake of the raid soon rained on the agencies, particularly EPA. Republicans saw the enforcement as emblematic of an administration that keeps sticking its nose where it doesn't belong. And Alaskans saw it as another example of the federal government's heavy hand.
Some media reports, painting the probe as an EPA-led assault with storm troopers in full-on SWAT gear, soon took hold. Now, almost two years later, some lawmakers remain angry enough to threaten stripping the agency of its firearms.
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