Peter Martin Kuhn, former president and CEO of French Gulch Nevada Mining Corp. and Bullion River Gold Corp., has been added to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) fugitive list for failing to surrender to federal law enforcement authorities after he was indicted for his role in a conspiracy to illegally dispose of mining wastes containing hazardous concentrations of arsenic and lead. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
“The EPA is serious about enforcing the nation’s environmental laws to protect public health. Those who are charged with violating the law must have their guilt or innocence determined in a court of law,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Kuhn allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to illegally dispose of hazardous mining wastes by dumping the waste onto a hillside and county road surrounding the mine, which included public lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and on at least one occasion, into a nearby stream.
On July 1, 2010, the federal grand jury in the Eastern District of California returned an indictment charging Kuhn with one count of conspiracy and aiding and abetting, one count of depredation against United States property, two counts of false statements, and one count of negligent discharge of a pollutant into a water of the United States. An indictment is merely an allegation, and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If convicted, Kuhn faces a possible 20 years in prison.
Launched in December 2008, the EPA’s fugitive list website contains information about individuals who have failed to turn themselves in after having been indicted and charged with or convicted of violating environmental laws or associated violations of the U.S. Criminal Code.