Environmentalists seek audit of Ohio coal permits


COLUMBUS — Several environmental groups want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to perform a full audit of certain permits to coal companies following the resignation of an Ohio regulator.

The Sierra Club and the Ohio Environmental Council asked federal officials in a Tuesday letter to investigate any water-pollution permits issued in the past six months and any draft permits under review by the state’s EPA.

RELATED ARTICLE: Ohio ranks 2nd in climate-altering carbon emissions from power plants

The groups’ request comes after a veteran regulator claimed Gov. John Kasich’s administration forced him to resign amid pressure from the coal industry.

George Elmaraghy had run the Ohio EPA’s Division of Surface Water since June 2005 and worked at the state agency for 39 years.

A U.S. EPA spokeswoman tells The Columbus Dispatch that officials received the letter and will review it.