Former U.S. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen announced that he and his firm, The Cohen Group, assisted by law firm DLA Piper, will conduct an independent review of whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted fairly in connection with its evaluation of potential mining in the Bristol Bay, Alaska, watershed. Cohen has been retained by the Pebble Limited Partnership, which holds mineral claims to state of Alaska lands in this area.

Other investigation and inquiries, as well as documents produced in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, have each raised questions as to whether the EPA proceeded fairly in its activities surrounding potential mining in the Bristol Bay watershed, Cohen explained. “Our review will focus on the fairness of the EPA’s actions,” he said. “We are not evaluating and will not express an opinion as to whether the Pebble Limited Partnership ultimately should be granted permission to mine the Pebble deposit. And, as was well documented during my years in public service, I have been a strong supporter of the EPA’s mandate to protect the environment and keep our nation’s waterways safe for human health as well as fish and wildlife.”

A condition of accepting this assignment is that Cohen has complete independence and discretion as to how this work will be conducted.