When agents with the Alaska Environmental Crimes Task Force surged out of the wilderness around the remote community of Chicken wearing body armor and jackets emblazoned with POLICE in big, bold letters, local placer miners didn’t quite know what to think.
Others wonder if the actions of the agents put everyone at risk. When your family business involves collecting gold far from nowhere, unusual behavior can be taken as a sign someone might be trying to stage a robbery. How is a remote placer miner to know the people in the jackets saying POLICE really are police?
Miners suggest it might have been better all around if officials had just shown up at the door -- as they used to do -- and said they wanted to check the water.
Since when is carrying a sidearm a problem? EPA agents have second amendment rights to, no?
Action 1 – Develop a “SWAT” Team to Deal with Issues as Soon as They Arise
Siting renewable energy on contaminated lands can be complicated; developers and
communities often come to EPA with issues and concerns related to environmental laws and
regulations at the federal, state, and local level that they would not face in developing green
spaces. To best promote EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative, EPA needs to be able
to respond to all issues and concerns quickly and accurately. Because it would not be possible
to educate EPA staff on all possible questions and issues raised by developers, land owners,
and others, a “SWAT” team of experts from across the Agency (e.g., OECA, Superfund,
Brownfields, RCRA, etc.) can be on call when needed to tap into their expertise. The SWAT
Team could go beyond EPA to include other federal agency experts (e.g., NREL, DOE, etc.).
OSWER Center for Program Analysis (CPA) will take the lead for this action item.
CPA, working with the EPA’s RE-Powering America’s Land Team will:
? Solicit volunteers for the SWAT Team from the RE-Powering team and EPA offices
? Establish the Team, provide training, and determine how it will operate.
? Issue a memo from OSWER AA notifying the Agency that the team exists and is
there as a resource to help projects reach completion.
? Use the expertise of the SWAT Team to educate EPA staff with webinars and other
materials, and over time, develop expertise across EPA program offices and Regions
? Establish a main point of contact in each Region to include as information on the
Google Earth tool (member of RE-Powering America’s Land Team).
Timing: Establish team August 2010.