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Coal Industry Forces Out Key Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Official

1 min. read

This is outrageous, but sadly not surprising.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has forced out the head of a key division of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency in response to pressure from the coal industry, according to an email obtained by The Huffington Post. George Elmaraghy, the chief of the division of surface water at OEPA, told staff in the email that the governor's office and the director of the agency had asked him to resign, effective Sept. 13, 2013. In the letter, Elmaraghy cited 'considerable pressure from the coal companies over the last year' demanding that his staff 'accommodate the industry's needs by issuing permits that may have a negative impact on Ohio's streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws.

This would be bad enough, but it's not even as if coal helps states like Ohio economically. To the contrary, as Professor Michael Hendryx of West Virginia University has explained, coal mining "is a loser" in practically every way. For instance, Hendryx's research found that "Hendryx found that mountaintop removal mining’s economic cost to Appalachian communities totaled roughly $42 billion per year in lost health and lives, and that t the heaviest coal-mining regions of Appalachia are worse off in just about every way compared to neighboring regions, similar in every other way except that they are below median in terms of coal production. Add that to the corruption described above, and it's not a pretty picture to put it mildly.