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Democratic Lawmaker, Environmentalists Probe Ohio EPA Official's Departure

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The resignation of a top environmental watchdog for the state takes effect today. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports… a lawmaker is now reviewing the events that led up to that official's resignation.

Friday, September 13, 2013 at 5:33 pm

A Democratic House representative is now reviewing a large pile of records from Governor John Kasich's administration which was sent to her office Thursday night.

Debbie Phillips from the Athens area filed a records request to learn more about the events leading up to George Elmaraghy's resignation.

Elmaraghy was the chief of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's Division of Surface Water. He announced his resignation through a mass email to his staff last month.

That email cited considerable pressure from the coal industry in the past year. He said… because of that situation… the governor and director of the Ohio EPA asked him to step down.

As Elmaraghy's resignation takes effect, two environmental groups want a review of the permits that have been issued to coal companies. The Sierra Club and Ohio Environmental Council called on an audit by the federal EPA earlier this week.

The Ohio environmental agency says they welcome such scrutiny since their permits are already routinely reviewed by the U.S. EPA.

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