A former federal employee who was helping to lead the cleanup of a contaminated Nevada mine is expected to testify at an administrative hearing this week that he was fired because he spoke out about dangers at the toxic waste site.
Earle Dixon's appeal of his firing from the U-S Bureau of Land
Management opens tomorrow (Tuesday) before an administrative law
judge for the U-S Labor Department. The hearing is expected to run
through Thursday at the federal courthouse in Reno.
A regional administrator for the Labor Department's Office of
Safety and Health Administration, rejected Dixon's initial
whistleblower complaint in October and concluded BLM "met its
burden of showing legitimate business reasons" for firing him.
BLM officials will be among those testifying on Dixon's
complaint, which seeks up to one (M) Million-dollars in damages and
is required under federal law before he can file a lawsuit.
Before his dismissal in October 2004, Dixon was in charge of the
cleanup responsibilities that BLM shared with the Nevada Division
of Environmental Protection, U-S Environmental Protection Agency
and Atlantic Richfield at the former Anaconda copper mine on the
edge of Yerington.
His lawyers say the hearing will show that Dixon got in trouble
with his supervisors because he was spreading the word about the
severity of the problems at a time when the agencies, ARCO and some
local politicians allegedly were trying to cover-up the seriousness
of the risks.