ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The U.S. Forest Service has suspended an agency official who complained that some of its managers ignored environmental laws and rules for the spraying of pesticides and weed-killers on forests.
Doug Parker, assistant director of forestry and forest health for the agency's Southwestern region, is accused of failing to follow a direct order to train and certify employees each month in the use of the chemicals.
Parker, the region's pesticide coordinator, also is accused of failing to submit a progress report on the training.
Deputy Regional Forester Lucia Turner sent Parker a letter Thursday about the 10-day suspension and said further "misconduct" could get him fired. Parker's attorney, Dennis Montoya, gave a copy of the letter to the Associated Press.
Parker and Montoya said the suspension was reprisal for Parker speaking up about possible violations of law; Parker had filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. His earlier whistle-blower complaint cited a "systemic problem" when it came to proper pesticide use in the Southwestern Region.