Skip to main content
State Seal State Seal State Seal
Home Button Home Button Home Button

Kasich Administration's Culture of Political Favoritism Targets OHEPA Regulator

Rep. Phillips seeks full account of Elmaraghy ouster
August 29, 2013
Democratic Newsroom

Press Release Poster

State Representative Debbie Phillips (D-Albany) today sent a letter* to the Kasich Administration demanding a full account of the events that led to the removal of George Elmaraghy, the Chief of the Division of Surface Water, at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rep. Phillips specifically requested that correspondence between the Gov. Kasich’s office, the Ohio EPA and coal industry officials regarding Mr. Elmaraghy be made available under Ohio’s public records law.

Elmaraghy asserts that Gov. Kasich and EPA Director Nally forced him to resign early last week due to growing pressure from coal companies seeking special permits-- permits that could violate state and federal laws. Elmaraghy’s official email account was disabled late last week, even though the long-time regulator wouldn’t be off the payroll until Sept. 13th.

“Governor Kasich and his administration need to make decisions based on what’s best for the people of Ohio, rather than paying back campaign donors,” said Rep. Phillips. “It seems pretty clear that Mr. Elmaraghy is the latest casualty of the Kasich Administration’s culture of political favoritism.”

A 38 year employee of the agency, Elmaraghy has served under Republican and Democratic Governors, earning a reputation as a level-headed public servant with a thorough knowledge of state and federal laws.

“Any suggestion that special interest political donations could provide the leverage to oust one of Ohio’s most seasoned health and safety stewards for doing his job is outrageous,” Rep. Phillips said in the letter.

Ohio coal companies have given Gov. Kasich nearly $130K in campaign contributions, fueling the perception that Kasich’s ouster of Elmaraghy may have been influenced by moneyed campaign interests. 

The Albany lawmaker says she will consider all available options in conducting a thorough review of the controversial removal of Ohio’s top surface water regulator.