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Special Counsel Named in EPA, DEC Investigation

October 10, 2013, Anchorage, Alaska – Anchorage attorney Brent Cole has been named special counsel in the matter of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) field investigation of mining claims in the Fortymile District. Governor Sean Parnell called for the special counsel after learning seven enforcement officers from the EPA and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), along with a DEC employee, forcefully investigated placer miners in the Fortymile area near Chicken.

“Alaskans deserve to know all of the facts in this case,” Governor Parnell said. “While these facts are being gathered, I will continue to be vigilant in defense of Alaskans’ liberty and personal property.”

The special counsel will focus on the workings of the Interagency Task Force on Environmental Crimes, individual state and federal agencies, and actions taken by the individuals involved. The special counsel will identify areas of concern to the public and to agency management regarding how the Fortymile investigation was developed and implemented, ascertain if any laws were violated, and determine whether different actions could have been taken.

A report summarizing the facts and recommendations is due within 90 days.

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