Report: Info points to improper action by Cooper on pipeline

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Private investigators say information they collected appears to show Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper improperly used his authority to make builders of a natural-gas pipeline agree to a $58 million mitigation fund under the governor's control.

The ex-federal agents released a report on Wednesday to the Republican-controlled legislative committee that hired them a year ago to review the January 2018 side deal between Cooper's office and utilities working on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Cooper's environmental department announced a key water permit had been issued the same day the ``memorandum of understanding'' with the governor's office was unveiled.

Cooper and aides have said repeatedly the mitigation package wasn't a prerequisite for the permit. Republicans weren't convinced, leading to work by the investigations firm.

Wednesday's report didn't focus specifically on whether crimes occurred.