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Inspector General: No Improper Influence In Ohio EPA

The state’s top internal investigator has completed his report after accusations that the governor’s office swayed water quality permit decisions based on political pressure.

In 2013, George Elmaraghy, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency chief said in a mass email to staff that he was forced to resign because of pressure from the coal industry. In the letter, Elmaraghy suggested that there were coal plants that did not deserve permits under the federal Clean Water Act. 

Following his resignation, House Democrats called for an investigation into these claims.

The Ohio Inspector General concluded that there were no signs of improper influences and that the permitting system was working the way it should.

The report noted periodical oversight by the federal EPA, which was an argument used by the Ohio agency at the time of Elmaraghy’s letter.