The Latest: EPA official pleased with watchdog report

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Posted: Jan 13, 2016 3:29 PM
The Latest: EPA official pleased with watchdog report

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The latest on a watchdog's report reviewing a federal study of mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay region (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

An official with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is pleased with an inspector general review of an EPA study into the effects of mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay region.

The review released Wednesday found no evidence of bias in how the EPA conducted the study.

EPA Regional Administrator Dennis McLerran called the review independent and in-depth. He says it shows the process the agency followed was sound.

It released the study in 2014, concluding that large-scale mining in the Bristol Bay watershed poses significant risk to salmon. The study was the basis for an agency proposal that could block development of the mine.

The group behind the proposed Pebble Mine worries that the EPA could veto the project before it enters the permitting phase.

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8:35 a.m.

The CEO of the group behind the proposed Pebble Mine is dismissing a watchdog's report that found no bias in how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on mining in Alaska's Bristol Bay region.

The Pebble Limited Partnership said CEO Tom Collier was concerned that the inspector general of the EPA could whitewash its investigation, so the group commissioned a study by former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Cohen concluded it would have been fairer to follow a permit application and environmental review process.

Instead, the EPA conducted a study that concluded large-scale mining in the region posed significant risk to salmon in a world-premier fishery.

The study was the basis for an agency proposal that could block development of the mine.

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6:25 a.m.

A watchdog has found no evidence of bias in how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a study on the potential effects of large-scale mining on a world-premier salmon fishery in Alaska's Bristol Bay region.

The inspector general for the EPA released the report that also found no evidence that the agency predetermined the study's outcome.

The report did find that a now-retired EPA employee in Alaska provided comments on a petition from tribes requesting that the agency protect the region from development under the federal Clean Water Act. It found no evidence that any law was violated but said the action may have constituted a misuse of position.

The state and the owner of the proposed Pebble Mine were among those who requested an investigation.