A Republican investigation into Gov. Roy Cooper’s influence on the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project concluded that he “improperly used the authority and influence of his office."
The investigation was started in 2017 by Republican leaders in the General Assembly, which hired independent investigators to look into funds under the governor’s control that they say were used as leverage to influence the partners of the pipeline.
The partners of the ACP project are Duke Energy, Dominion Energy, Piedmont Natural Gas and Southern Gas Company. The pipeline is planned to stretch 600 miles, starting in West Virginia and traveling through Virginia and eastern North Carolina, according to the project’s website.
The report, released on Nov. 20, suggests the governor’s office insisted that the partners contribute to the $55 million fund in order to receive the permits necessary to continue the construction of the pipeline. It further claims the governor used his influence to delay the issuance of permits until the partners agreed to increase the fund to $57.8 million.
In the report, Lynn Good, President and CEO of Duke Energy, said the governor did not make the ability to get required permits conditional on the creation of the fund or the resolution of the dispute. However, the report indicated that she did understand Cooper wanted those things done by the end of December 2017, around the same time the permits were needed.