April 20th, 2010 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Environment

High Profile Enviro Attorney Forced Out of AG's Office (Updated)

John Kroger

Attorney General John Kroger today parted ways with one of his highest profile deputies—Brent Foster, the former executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper and perhaps the leading opponent of liquified natural gas terminals proposed for Oregon.

Here's the statement Kroger's office released today:
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger today announced the resignation of Brent Foster, Special Counsel to the Attorney General on environmental issues. Foster resigned today after he informed the Attorney General's office that he misrepresented his involvement in the investigation of a criminal case, State v. Ryan/Hood River Juice. Attorney General Kroger has referred the matter to Marion County District Attorney Walt Beglau for any necessary investigation.

"It is crucial that all members of the Department of Justice maintain the highest professional standards," said Attorney General Kroger.

We'll have more on this puzzling development tomorrow but in the meantime, the non-profit that Foster led before going to work for Kroger has issued a statement that cast some light on what happened. Here is that statement from Columbia Riverkeeper:

Hood River, OR – In late 2009, the Hood River County District Attorney's (DA) office requested that Columbia Riverkeeper collect a sample from an alleged illegal discharge from Ryan's Juice company in Hood River. The State of Oregon and the Hood River County DA were investigating whether a discharge, located across the street from Ryan's Juice, contained pollution from the company. Columbia Riverkeeper regularly monitors water quality on the Columbia River and tributaries, as well as responds to citizen or state agency complaints.

The Department of Justice's Brent Foster was also present to investigate Ryan's Juice. Riverkeeper assumed that Mr. Foster was acting as part of the official Dept. of Justice investigation into Ryan's Juice. At the sample location, Mr. Foster called the Hood River DA to discuss the sample.

Brett VandenHeuvel, executive director for Columbia Riverkeeper, stated, “We are pleased that the DA requested Riverkeeper's assistance. We're happy to help provide preliminary data, but we trust our state agencies to conduct their own analysis.”

Added VandenHeuvel, “When local or state investigators ask us to help, we respond quickly.”

Riverkeeper was not privy to the internal discussions at the Oregon Dept. of Justice regarding Mr. Foster's involvement.

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