This is a developing story.

Investigators hired by the General Assembly concluded that Gov. Roy Cooper used the power of his office to pressure developers of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline into creating a $57.8-million discretionary fund as a condition of getting an environmental permit for the pipeline.

The conclusion came in a report the investigators delivered to a special legislative subcommittee looking into the pipeline controversy.

In a news release, Sen. Harry Brown, R-Onslow, co-chairman of the subcommittee, said the report concludes “criminal violations may have occurred.”

From the report:

From the information presented in this report it would be reasonable to conclude that Governor Cooper improperly used the authority and influence of his Office to cause the ACP partnership to commit to a $55 million “Mitigation Fund” that the Governor placed under his complete control. Governor Cooper continued to use his authority and influence to delay the ACP permitting process until the ACP partners agreed to increase the fund amount to $57.8 million.

Also, from the information presented in this report, it would be reasonable to conclude that Governor Cooper used the influence and authority of his Office to pressure parties involved in the Nameplate Dispute, to enter an agreement that favored the solar industry at the cost of $100 Million to the ratepayers of North Carolina.

Investigators will deliver the report at 2 p.m. today to the full Joint Legislative Commission on Government Operations.

Carolina Journal has covered the pipeline controversy from its inception.