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WASHINGTON (AP) The Environmental Protection Agency says it's having trouble finding emails from a former biologist who was evaluating the environmental impact of a massive gold and copper mine proposed for southwest Alaska.

EPA administrator Gina McCarthy told a House oversight committee Wednesday that the agency to date has been unable to recover the records the panel is seeking. The agency on Tuesday officially notified the National Archives and Records Administration, the same day its chief told Congress that the Internal Revenue Service had violated the law by not reporting a loss of records.

House Republicans are seeking the records as part of an investigation into a rare use of EPA authority that could end up blocking or restricting the mine project. Most of the emails in question precede the Obama administration.