Letter to Rep. Paul Broun and Attached Comments on EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment

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I want to thank you for holding a hearing in your Oversight Subcommittee on 1st August on the EPA’s Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment. There are a number of troubling issues that I expect the witnesses will raise in their testimony. I would like to call to your attention one issue that may not be raised or at least not in the detail that it deserves. This is the reliance of the Assessment for several key points on the expert analyses of Dr. Ann Maest and Stratus Consulting. Dr. Maest and Stratus Consulting’s Executive Vice President, Douglas Beltman, have given sworn affidavits to a federal court, in which they admit that they provided fraudulent technical reports in the case brought in Ecuador against Chevron. I have attached CEI’s comment to the EPA on the Bristol Bay Watershed Assessment, which gives links to the two affidavits and other relevant documents.

The fact that Dr. Maest and Stratus Consulting provided false expert assessments to a paying client naturally leads to the suspicion that this may not be the only instance in which they have done so. I would like to suggest that it would be appropriate for your subcommittee to investigate Stratus Consulting’s contracts with the EPA and other federal agencies with an eye to exposing similar fraudulent conduct.

An investigation may find other instances of misconduct, but even if it does not, I would further suggest that the evidence in the sworn affidavits of Dr. Maest and Mr. Beltman provides sufficient reason to ban Stratus Consulting and Dr. Maest from future consulting contracts with the federal government. A rider in the Interior, EPA, and Related Agencies appropriations bill may be the appropriate way to accomplish such a ban.

Thank you for your attention to CEI’s concerns. We will be happy to provide further information on this issue that you may desire.