Wednesday, September 18, 2013

There are more

Ohioans have a lot to worry about with the recent forced resignation of Ohio EPA water specialist, George Elmaraghy. Ohio Gov. John Kasich's administration appears to be pushing out and reassigning those state employees that are not following his directives.

George Elmaraghy, the chief of the division of surface water for Ohio's EPA, recently came to a sensible conclusion: permits sought by the coal industry would likely "have a negative impact on Ohio's streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws." Elmaraghy, a 39-year veteran of the state agency, knew of what he spoke (thanks to my colleague Will Femia for the tip)..... the meantime, Elmaraghy seems to have plenty to say. He talked at length to TPM's Dylan Scott, who heard of a gubernatorial administration "beholden to the coal industry and willing to push out employees who weren't going to capitulate to its demands."

....Let's also not overlook this tidbit:
Elmaraghy said he isn't alone in being targeted by Kasich's office for clashing with coal companies. He mentioned Bruce Goff, another Ohio EPA official who had been overseeing mining applications, who Elmaraghy said had been reassigned for raising similar concerns.
Reached by phone, Goff confirmed to TPM that he did formerly work on coal permits, but had since been reassigned. He declined to comment further.
"I'm not at this point able to really explain what happened," Goff said. "I'm still working here. I have to figure out my career plans."

You just have to wonder what is going on in the Kasich administration.  What environmental dangers are we facing because someone is "fixing" safety reports?  How many employees have been forced out or find themselves in a new job because they wouldn't follow Kasich's orders?