MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The federal Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to investigate the allegations in a petition that seeks to strip the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency of its authority to regulate water pollution from mining.

The environmental group WaterLegacy filed the petition with the EPA in July, saying the state agency has failed to meet the responsibilities that the EPA has delegated to it for enforcing the Clean Water Act when it comes to iron mining companies. The EPA recently sent WaterLegacy attorney Paula Maccabee and MPCA a draft protocol for its investigation.

Maccabee says the document shows the EPA is taking her group's concerns "very seriously," and that the state risks losing its enforcement authority unless it comes into compliance.

But MPCA officials said they regard it as nothing more than procedural.