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Worker Who Reported Environmental Violations On Work Site Loses His Job

A construction worker who says he repeatedly warned supervisors about environmental violations on a Lake Tahoe-area road project lost his job. 

But the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that the company that fired him remains eligible to do tax-funded work in the environmentally sensitive Tahoe Basin, even though a job-site inspection found evidence to support the worker's complaints. 

The violations stem from a $4.4 million retaining wall and roadway project along California State Route 89 near Emerald Bay.

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In May, whistleblower Robert Casebeer posted a video showing workers rolling boulders down the mountainside between the job site and the bay, which then crashed into the forest and damaged dozens of trees. 

An inspector from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency visited the job site after seeing the video and identified 16 instances of non-compliance with legal or permit requirements at the site that likely would have gone unnoticed without the viral video.

The violations were outlined in a cease-and-desist letter from the agency to Caltrans and Stewart Engineering of Redding, Calif., the contractor that fired Casebeer. 

The project is now complete, but the incident is still under investigation by TRPA.