Coal interests that a veteran Ohio environmental regulator says contributed to his forced resignation have donated 50 thousand dollars to Republican Governor John Kasich since he took office.
Jim Letizia reports.
An Associated Press review also finds associates of top Ohio coal firms Boich Companies and Murray Energy have directed nearly 170 thousand dollars to the Republican-controlled Ohio House and Senate since 2011. State lawmakers control Ohio clean-energy quotas and other environmental laws. Murray Energy owns the Crandal Canyon Mine in Utah, where federal regulators say nine miners were killed in a 2007 collapse caused by poor company safety practices. The company was fined nearly 1 million dollars. George Elmaraghy of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said in an email last week his departure resulted from "considerable pressure" from the coal industry. Elmaraghy headed the Division of Surface Water, which issues permits for mining and other activities. Kasich's spokesperson claims political partisanship is fueling criticism about Elmaraghy's departure. His resignation from the department after serving 39 years takes effect September 13th. Several environmental groups say they want Elmaraghy reinstated. Jack Shaner of the Ohio Environmental Council says the state owes the public an explanation.