Coal contributors target Ohio GOP legislators, gov

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Coal interests that a veteran Ohio environmental regulator says contributed to his forced resignation have donated about $50,000 to Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) since he took office. That’s a fraction of the $5.3 million Kasich has raised since 2011.

An Associated Press review finds associates of top Ohio coal firms Boich Cos. and Murray Energy have directed nearly $170,000 to the GOP-dominated Ohio House and Senate since 2011. State lawmakers control state clean-energy quotas and other environmental laws.

George Elmaraghy (el-muh-RAGH’-ee) of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said in an email last week that his departure resulted from “considerable pressure” from the coal industry.

Elmaraghy headed the Division of Surface Water, which issues permits for mining and other activities.

Kasich’s spokesman said political partisanship was fueling criticism about Elmaraghy’s departure. Ohio EPA defended the integrity of its permitting program.

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