Cooper rejects lawmakers’ interview requests on pipeline

Roy Cooper - AP Interview 2018
In this photo taken Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2018 North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper talks during an interview at the Governor's mansion in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

RALEIGH — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and staff members have rejected interview requests from investigators being used by a legislative oversight committee to examine a 2018 agreement between Cooper and utilities building the Atlantic Coast Pipeline.

Friday’s refusal through Cooper Chief of Staff Kristi Jones responded to a letter written earlier Friday by the panel’s Republican leaders. The lawmakers said witness interviews are almost complete and offered options on how investigators could speak with the Democratic governor or his employees. The competing correspondence indicates Cooper’s staff members would instead answer questions at a public hearing, likely in November.

Republicans question the $58 million deal in which companies agreed to pay for environmental mitigation and other projects. Jones called the review a “partisan charade.” Cooper’s office sent records to lawmakers last December.