The Great Chicken (Alaska) Raid Lays An Egg

By Charlton “Chuck” Stanley, Weekend Contributor

EPALogoA few days ago, there was some good-natured banter in the comments about Chicken, Alaska. Since I have relatives who do gold mining there during the summer months, I followed up with some reading about Chicken. This old gold mining town was founded in 1886. We often hear of something being “in the middle of nowhere.” In this case it’s true. Chicken is a six hour drive northeast of Fairbanks on the Taylor Highway, which goes to Dawson, Yukon.

This is one of the most isolated and difficult to reach communities on the North American continent. The only way in and out is either by the Taylor Highway or a small airstrip. I was surprised to learn that this town of 17 people (6 households and 4 families) was the subject of a raid last fall. The raid was carried out by a black-clad SWAT team in full body armor and armed to the teeth. The eight agents appeared out of nowhere in the tiny town. They were from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on a mission to inspect the water associated with gold mining.

Now to put this in perspective, my relatives appear to be among the suspects. I did the math on the suspect to agent ratio, and there was a SWAT officer for every 2.17 persons in town. However, the true population is the subject of some debate. The 2010 Census recorded a population of seven (7) people. There are, of course, the determined travelers making the Fairbanks to Dawson trek. I say “determined” travelers, because it is a trip that one has to be determined to make in order to even consider the drive. That clearly made the odds in favor of the townspeople, so it is understandable the officers were all dressed in body armor and armed with a variety of firearms.

After their inspection of the mining and miners, the Federal agents warned the miners to not put so much mud in the creeks. Really. That was their order.

I was never able to find out if they seized any of Susan’s cinnamon rolls or pies for “evidence.” Susan sells her baked goods to tourists passing through on their way to the Yukon Territory or south to Fairbanks.

To their credit, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich have attempted to inquire into the task force’s actions. Alaska Congressman Don Young is also trying to get information. So far, straight answers are not forthcoming from the EPA. The EPA has refused to publicly explain why it used armed officers as part of what it called a “multi-jurisdictional” investigation of possible Clean Water Act violations in the area. In a conference call with Alaska’s Senators and Congressman Young, members of their staff, state police officers, the EPA claimed it sent in the task force armed and wearing body armor because of information it received from the Alaska State Troopers about “rampant drug and human trafficking going on in the area.” Officials with the state police say that is simply not true, which is a polite way of saying the EPA is lying. The State Troopers have no information, and never had any information, regarding “rampant drug and human trafficking.”

The citizens of Alaska and especially the town of Chicken, have a lot of questions about this raid by armed Federal agents. Alaskans have a deep distrust of Federal agencies, which have traditionally been heavy handed in their interactions with local citizens.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) says one of its compliance officers went along with the task force, but claim it was only to look for potential state violations at the mine sites.

The DEC admits its officer was armed. It seems safe to assume the DEC officer was one of the black clad SWAT officers in body armor. What has been learned so far is that in addition to the DEC officer, the raid was carried out by members of the EPA, the FBI, Coast Guard, and the Department of Defense.

So that we know what kind of town required a full squad of SWAT officers, we need to take a look at the town.

Next, we take a look at a miner who must be one of those ordered by the EPA to not put mud into the creek as he mined for gold. Looks like he could be a drug and human trafficker to me. Real shifty eyed type.

Don’t put mud into the water. That’s what they ordered. I have to wonder if those guys have ever SEEN an Alaskan mudflat. Last time I was in Anchorage, I flew with a bush pilot. For thirty minutes of the flight–at 120 mph–we were over mudflats, and the end was not in sight. Don’t put mud into the water indeed!

Sources:

Alaska Dispatch: News and Voices From the Last Frontier

Gold Prospectors Association

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51 thoughts on “The Great Chicken (Alaska) Raid Lays An Egg”

  1. Bron, Absolutely. You pay and you get the regulations you want, or don’t want. Science has virtually nothing to do w/ it. Govt. employees are Dems because that’s who butters their toast. I know some pretty conservative govt. employees, but they vote Dem. People vote their purse first.

    1. I know lots of government employees and they bad mouth liberals and vote conservative only. Maybe back in the days of FDR they were somewhat liberal, but now they are all in bed with the companies they are supposed to regulate and are disloyal to their country and government in their own future interests. That is why you will find most chickenhawks on the conservative side.

  2. nick:

    conservatives think that is the reason why most regulations dont work. From living here in DC it seems that many in government service are liberal. So it is not unrealistic to think that most regulators are as well. If poor, stupid, ignorant conservative businessmen are out foxing liberal regulators, well maybe progressives arent quite as smart as they think they are.

    Regulations need to be realistic and based on good science not on politically correct science.

    Most regulations are created as a benefit to some favored company or industry. That in itself is criminal in my mind.

  3. “Have no fear of robbers or murderers. They are external dangers, petty dangers. We should fear ourselves. Prejudices are the real robbers; vices the real murders. The great dangers are within us. Why worry about what threatens our heads or purses? Let us think instead of what threatens our souls.”
    — Victor Hugo

  4. Then there’s rcampbell’s take. Summarized, Err on the side of automatic weapons pointed @ potential violators. They wouldn’t do this horseshit to a big mining corporation, they pick on a few folks in a remote town. Yeah, that’s better than lax enforcement. You too could be on the barrel end of a goon squad like this. Do you think you’re immune? YOU ARE NOT!

  5. Personally, I’d far rather see this kind of thing than the lax enforcement of regulations on water, mines, air, etal or the good-ol’-boy-buddy-buddy relationship of regulators and those they regulate as championed by conservatives. The former causes confusion and hurt feelings, the latter, as in the cases of the West Virginia miners and Gulf oil riggers a couple of years ago, can and has caused deaths and severe environmental damage.

  6. randyjet

    Dredd, this goes back to the softball question Katy Curic tossed to Palin in the 2008 election. The SCOTUS had just overturned the billion dollar award against Exxon, and Palin’s office had put out a press release on that subject denouncing the ruling. So when she asked about SCOTUS rulings other than Roe vs Wade she disagreed with, she obviously thought it was an easy question for her to answer since it was so recent, and affected Alaska so badly. But unfortunately Palin did not read any newspapers, or even her own press releases. Of course, Curic should have known that a beauty pageant contestant would not be up to date on important subjects.
    ================
    She eloped with Todd about the time of the Exxon Valdez terrorist attack, so her mind was elsewhere.

  7. while I disagree with the raid, siltation does effect fish reproduction. Since fishing and guiding are big money makers it seems reasonable to me to try and accomadate both gold mining and fishing.

  8. Very interesting case Chuck. While I am sure there are times when the EPA agents need to be armed, this was not one of them. I would love to see an accounting to figure out what this excursion cost the taxpayer.

  9. 2nd in line to the Presidency, had McCain won. Something to ponder and heave a sigh of relief over.

  10. Wow, google street view has made it to Chicken, AK. Is that road even paved? It looks like just packed dirt.

  11. Simms,

    The greatest harm to Alaska has always been, and is now still being done by Oil-Qaeda operatives.

    Such as the ExxonValdez ship of state:

    The native people had sold their land to the military oil complex for one dollar on the promise that the oilsters would be very careful and take care of the environment.

    Well, forked man speaks with white tongue, so the oil company of course violated the agreement.

    The Exxon Valdez’s radar had not been working for a very long time, and was not even activated on that fateful day. The oil robber barons were not careful, so once again the native Americans were wronged by the oil crusaders.

    To this day there is still oil on beaches in that vast pristine area. Since no one comes to look very much, the oil companies have gotten away with it.

    And the judges of some of the courts, possibly beholding to the oil companies in “prior lifetimes” in some way, have cut the damages Exxon has to pay down to a small percentage of the original jury awards.

    The addiction to oil continues like a plague.

    (Spill Baby Spill – 3). This was probably an episode in the Hypocrisy Olympics where the people spilling some dirt in the streams are scolded while Oil-Qaeda’s world destroying terrorism continues to be celebrated.

    Men have brought their powers of subduing the forces of nature to such a pitch that by using them they could now very easily exterminate one another to the last man. They know this –hence arises a great part of their current unrest, their dejection, their mood of apprehension.” – Sigmund Freud

    1. Dredd, this goes back to the softball question Katy Curic tossed to Palin in the 2008 election. The SCOTUS had just overturned the billion dollar award against Exxon, and Palin’s office had put out a press release on that subject denouncing the ruling. So when she asked about SCOTUS rulings other than Roe vs Wade she disagreed with, she obviously thought it was an easy question for her to answer since it was so recent, and affected Alaska so badly. But unfortunately Palin did not read any newspapers, or even her own press releases. Of course, Curic should have known that a beauty pageant contestant would not be up to date on important subjects.

  12. I think Andrea is someone who can rationalize the SWAT raids until she’s the barrel end of one. Then she’ll cry louder than anyone.

  13. @Andrea “I’m sure you can imagine some super rural-living people making comments about what might happen to an EPA official who “barges in trying to tell them what to do.” The agency can’t risk that somebody might actually act out, so they use an abundance of caution.”

    Andrea, that’s called “worst first thinking.” (Google it) It’s where you imagine the worst possible thing that could possibly happen and then proceed as if that is the most likely thing to happen. It promotes fear mongering and distrust.

    It was much more likely that the extreme actions used by the EPA, instead of a civil approach, would have caused an extreme reaction from the locals by agitating them right off the bat. But the locals didn’t act extremely to the raid, did they?

    When was the last time that some “super rural-living” person in Alaska harmed an EPA agent? When was the last time that some “super rural-living” person in Alaska harmed an unarmed guy with a test kit?

  14. A chicken in every pot. A pot plant in every chicken coup. A chicken in every Third World coup. It is a Third World to which we are coming. The cops are taking us there. We are chickens as we do nothing Soon we will be in the pot.

  15. Andrea,

    Could be a false flag to turn people “against the EPA.”

    It isn’t easy to destroy the planet’s Global Climate Systems which support human life.

    They have many ways to do it as the chant Oilah Akbar! Oilah Akbar!

    The deception is done mainly via the home-grown ignorance of the Oil-Qaeda huggers..

  16. Alaska is pilot heaven. We flew Skagway Air around the area. Hell, instead of taking the very unreliable state ferry 15 miles to Haines, we took Skagway Air. They were like a taxi. My son sat up next to the pilot. We spent the day and the pilot gave us his cell, saying, “Give me a ring when you guys want to come back.” Folks love to make fun of Alaska because of Palin. But, these are a diverse group of great iconoclasts. And, a trip over to the Yukon is also worth the effort. Even a bit more rugged.

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