Grantee probes close relationships between Environmental Protection Agency and mining companies it is supposed to regulate

Montana Resources mines copper and molybdenum in Butte, Mont., year round. (Erick Doxey/InvestigateWest)

Emails obtained by InvestigateWest reveal a cozy relationship between federal Environmental Protection Agency officials and mining companies operating in Butte, Montana, a jarring reminder of the ways regulators and industry work closely together, at times against the public’s interests. Reporter Wilson Criscione, with support from the Fund, examined reams of documents that detailed EPA coordination with the very companies they’re supposed to be regulating. Emails showed an attempt to coordinate an attack on independent researchers and peer-reviewed scientific studies that challenge current mining practices.