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Office of Special Counsel Requests Stay for Environmental Whistleblower

August 04, 2017
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August 4, 2017

GAP Client Jeffrey Missal Blows the Whistle on U.S. Dept. of the Interior

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recently released a statement requesting that the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) place a 45-day stay on the case of Jeffrey Missal, who until January 2016 was a Regional Environmental Officer in Anchorage, Alaska within the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (DOI’s BSEE).

Beginning in 2014, Missal started raising complaints to his superiors within his department, arguing that BSEE and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) managers were approving permits for companies such as Shell to develop OCS oil and gas before Environmental Impact Statements could be prepared and considered. In many cases, the judgments of lower-level analysts were ignored—and even deliberately changed—by upper management to streamline the approval process, bypassing NEPA requirements.

After protesting DOI violations of environmental law during the review process for an Artic oil-drilling lease, the agency removed his duties, placed him under retaliatory investigation and fired him.

Missal, who has not had a paycheck in 20 months, expressed gratitude to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel for successfully obtaining the stay:

I want to express appreciation to the Office of Special Counsel for sending the wolf away from my door, and for the first step in my vindication. I will keep fighting until it is completed.

Government Accountability Project (GAP) Legal Director Tom Devine suggests the recent OSC determination proves the Missal case has merit and is deserving of further investigation:

The OSC’s excellent work illustrates the Whistleblower Protection Act at its best. It proves how free speech rights can make a difference when an agency appears intent on ruining a whistleblower.

Contact: Luke Drabyn, Communications Associate
Phone: 202.457.0034 x130
Email: luked@whistleblower.org

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP's mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

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