EPA cleared of bias in Alaska mine controversy despite lost emails

Despite acknowledging it could not obtain more than two years of emails from a key employee, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General on Wednesday effectively cleared the EPA of allegations of bias in its quest to preemptively kill a proposed mine in southwest Alaska.

The troubling details of the missing emails raise charges of an EPA whitewashing, a scenario and an allegation all-too-familiar in the Obama administration.

Tom Collier, CEO of Pebble Limited Partnership, the investment group behind the proposed copper and gold mine near Alaska’s Bristol Bay, said the EPA continues to “minimize the seriousness of its own misconduct with respect to the Pebble Project, while sweeping under the rug the complicity of its most senior officials.”

He called the IG’s report an “embarrassing failure” to understand what several congressional committees, an independent federal judge in Alaska and an independent review by former U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen (in the Clinton administration) have already found — “that EPA acted improperly … and was biased in its actions.”

The EPA was elated by the inspector general’s lengthy“independent, in-depth” review. The report, according to the agency, “confirms that our rigorous scientific study of the Bristol Bay watershed and our robust public process were entirely consistent with our laws, regulations, policies, and procedures and were based on sound scientific analysis.”

“We stand behind our study and our public policy, and we are confident in our work to protect Bristol Bay,” the EPA said in a statement.

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