Tim Purdon is North Dakota’s US Attorney. He was an extremely partisan appointment, nominated to fill that post by President Barack Obama directly from the Democrat National Committee, and he proved just how partisan his appointment was when one of his first big cases was an attempt to prosecute a group of oil companies for a couple of dozen dead ducks found on their property (something that got Purdon named “Dodo of the year” by the Wall Street Journal).
Purdon was exploiting environmental law – the Migratory Birds Treaty Act, specifically – which is so ambiguous in its definition of the illegal “taking” of a bird that if you were to inadvertantly hit one covered by the act with your car on the highway you could be prosecuted for a federal crime.
Now Purdon, who has demonstrated his willingness to stretch law to fit a left-wing environmental agenda, is touting his success in getting EPA “detectives” permanent office space in North Dakota.
The workspace is temporary at this point, but there’s no end date to the memorandum of understanding, which the Environmental Protection Agency signed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to share office space in Bismarck, EPA spokeswoman Lisa McClain-Vanderpool said.
“It’s important to understand these guys are not regulators, they’re not inspectors — they’re detectives,” North Dakota U.S. Attorney Tim Purdon said. “… They come in and they investigate the worst of the worst of the worst of the environmental violations.” …
Purdon said he’s been pushing for more of a presence in North Dakota for two years, and hopes this is just a first step toward a permanent presence.
It would be interesting to hear Senator Heidi Heitkamp comment on this development. She has positioned herself as a pro-fossil fuels liberal, and has generally defended the primacy of state governments in environmental regulations. But Purdon’s actions are more in line with the baseline feelings of their party, which is aggressive federal regulation trumping local control and a generally hostile view toward fossil fuel interests.
Frankly, it’s a little hard to see Senator Heitkamp’s position as authentic given that her political party – including prominent North Dakota Democrats like Mr. Purdon – feels exactly the opposite.