Environmental Protection

Peter Martin Kuhn Added to EPA Fugitive List

Peter Martin Kuhn, former president and chief executive officer of French Gulch Nevada Mining Corporation and Bullion River Gold Corporation, 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. Exposure to arsenic can cause partial paralysis, blindness, and cancer and exposure to lead can affect kidney function, and cause reproductive and developmental issues. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

“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 EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “The public can help EPA by reporting any information they have on the whereabouts of Mr. Kuhn on EPA’s fugitive website or to local law enforcement.”

Kuhn allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to dispose of hazardous mining wastes illegally 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 would face a possible 20-year imprisonment.

Launched in December 2008, 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. The website also shows the public how to contact EPA if they have information about a fugitive’s identity or location.

To date, information from citizens or law enforcement organizations have assisted in the arrest or capture of five fugitives and the surrender of two others. Of the seven former fugitives, five have been sentenced, one is awaiting sentencing, and one had charges dismissed after the trial ended in a hung jury. With the addition of Peter Kuhn, there are currently 18 fugitives on EPA’s fugitive list.

Because some fugitives may be armed and dangerous, the public should not try to apprehend any of the individuals. Citizens may also report the information to their local police or, if outside the United States, to the nearest U.S. Embassy.

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