Special Counsel To Investigate Mining Raids

Governor Sean Parnell has announced a special counsel to investigate raids by federal and state authorities in the Fortymile River area.

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Parnell’s office says Anchorage attorney Brent Cole will be asked to determine whether any laws were violated and if different actions could have been taken. A report is due within 90 days.

Parnell’s spokeswoman says the cost of the investigation won’t exceed $50,000.

Parnell has said federal enforcement officers were armed while looking for federal Clean Water Act violations during the raid and an investigator with the state Department of Environmental Conservation joined the agents.

The director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s criminal investigation division has said meetings with miners were cordial and disputed any suggestion that state agency involvement came at the last minute.

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