Thursday, November 05, 2015

EPA Official Behind Pebble Mine Defeat Fled The Country Amid Congressional Probe

by Michael Bastasch

A government ecologist was instrumental in the Environmental Protection Agency’s blocking of a major Alaska gold mine left the U.S. after congressional investigators found out he flouted federal records law.

A report published by Republicans on the House science committee found that Phil North, an EPA ecologist, came up with the plan to use the Clean Water Act to block the Pebble Mine from ever being built in Alaska’s Bristol Bay. North convinced the EPA to use an “unprecedented” method for shutting down the mining project, according to the report.

House science committee staff found out about North’s involvement in Pebble from a 2013 news article. The committee quickly sent a request to EPA “to request North’s relevant documents and communications.” The committee also wanted North to come in for a transcribed interview, but North was less than compliant.

...“North then left the country and avoided service by the U.S. Marshals Service of a subpoena to be deposed by the Committee,” the House committee wrote. “According to press reports, North was most recently in Australia.”

...Republicans also shows how EPA employees, including North, convinced Alaskan tribes in the region to write a letter to the agency asking them to preemptively veto Pebble — something the EPA had never done before. The whole “grassroots” push against the mine was orchestrated by EPA and its allies, according to the report.

 A great example of "collaboration".

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