An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agent mistakenly left a gun in a restroom stall in the agency’s headquarters, according to a Freedom of Information Act request from Environment & Energy Publishing’s Greenwire published Monday.
The agent’s punishment was suspension from duty without pay for a single day last year. The agent admitted he or she had left their firearm in the bathroom during a March 2015 interview with EPA Inspector General’s (IG) office.
“This is just another unfortunate example of an agency that is unaccountable. Working to disarm the EPA was a campaign promise made by Senator Sullivan, and it continues to be a priority for him,” Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Alaska Republican Sen. Dan Sullivan, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Sullivan attempted to strip EPA of its firearms in January 2015 as part of a larger bill that would have authorized the Keystone XL pipeline.
The IG report specified that the agent had violated firearm safety standards and procedures.
“During the interview the Subject admitted that [redacted] left [redacted] service weapon unattended in a [redacted] bathroom stall located WJC West Room [redacted] and the Subject stated that there was not [sic] excuse for what happened,” IG’s office reported.
The redactions in the report were to comply with various exemptions from the Freedom of Information Act, including for deliberative process and personal privacy.
“While we appreciate your questions and the opportunity to respond, the EPA OIG cannot comment on a personnel matter beyond the information we provided you under the Freedom of Information Act,” Jennifer Kaplan, a spokeswoman for EPA’s IG, told Greenwire.
The EPA has spent $1.4 million for “guns up to 30 MM,” nearly $1 million on “security vehicle services,” $380,000 for “ammunition,” $210,000 for “camouflage and other deceptive equipment,” $208,000 for “radar and night-vision equipment,” $113,000 on “operation of government troop housing” and $234,753 for body armor, according to a investigation of the EPA spending by Open The Books.
The EPA uses these weapons too. In 2013, EPA agents launched a raid on the seven person town of Chicken, Alaska in an attempt to catch the locals violating the Clean Water Act. The agents were well armed, wearing body armor and were even supported by helicopters. Reports by the state of Alaska special counsel found that there was “little factual support of serious ongoing environmental crimes being committed.”
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