Last month, a senior staff member of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency resigned from his post. He says he was forced by Governor Kasich to step down because of pressure from coal companies that don't like how he's doing his job.
George Elmaraghy manages the department responsible for overseeing the permitting processes of energy projects that could contaminate our waters. He has worked for the EPA for almost 40 years. Unless Governor Kasich retracts his call for Elmaraghy’s resignation, Ohio will lose one of our most dedicated advocates on September 13th.
Coal companies should not have a role in choosing who approves and denies project permits. But Gov. Kasich said the Ohio EPA was “going to send a message to Ohio that we are open for business” when he named Scott Nally, George Elmaraghy’s boss, to head the agency shortly after he was elected in 2010. And, Gov. Kasich has received more than $500,000 from coal interests for his campaigns.
As a father and elected official, I know each decision I make must build a healthier, safer, and more viable home for my children and all the children of Ohio. Our kids need strong advocates making decisions for their future now — and that includes protecting our environmental agencies from the bullying tactics of big coal.
Mr. Elmaraghy has devoted nearly 40 years of his life to protecting Ohio families from pollution. He does not want to stop working for Ohio. After news of his forced resignation broke, he wrote, “I do not want to retire. I want to stay and do my job for the citizens and the environment of Ohio.”
The EPA must be free to protect Ohio’s communities, regardless of how much money coal companies donate to the governor or what those companies claim is best for our state.
Tell Governor Kasich our kids need strong, independent watchdogs like George Elmaraghy.
(Photo credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Erie_Land%27s_End.jpg)