West Virginia just declared a State of Emergency after up-to 5,000 gallons of a poisonous chemical, 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, used for processing coal, was leaked into the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians. According to Reuters, over 700 people have called poison control lines with symptoms, and 70 have showed up at emergency rooms. Residents have been warned against using the water for drinking, bathing or anything short of flushing the toilet.
Back here in Ohio, John Kasich continues to purge Ohio EPA officials who oversee water quality in Ohio, likely at the behest of the coal industry.
First it was George Elmaraghy, a 39 year veteran of the Ohio EPA, who was fired back in August. Elmaraghy claimed he was fired for opposing a request from Kasich’s pal Bob Murray. Elmaraghy refused to issue Coal Baron Murray, owner of Murray Energy, a permit to pollute “that may have a negative impact on Ohio’s streams and wetlands and violate state and federal laws.” Murray complained to Kasich and Elmaraghy’s career with the EPA was quickly over.
Murray and his family gave Kasich over $4,500 in the last election cycle. And Murray was one of Kasich’s “carefully selected” panelists at his 2011 Energy Summit.
This week, Scott Nally, Kasich’s Ohio EPA director, resigned suddenly and without warning.
The rumor mill tells us that Murray’s anger over likely-illegal pollution permits was again to blame. But, so far, Kasich has been silent on the issue.
Yesterday the Sierra Club of Ohio sent Kasich a letter insisting the governor come clean and tell Ohioans why Nally was pushed out. “The people of Ohio have a right to know what role your office has played in the development of these resignations,” writes Sierra Club Ohio Chair Robert F. Shields. “We are writing you to request your leadership not by your actions behind closed doors, but by speaking to Ohioans openly and honestly about the activities surrounding these recent events.”
We hope Kasich will follow the advice of the Sierra Club and come clean. Ohioans deserve to know if Kasich is putting the desires of big political donors like Bob Murray above the health and well-being of Ohioans. But we won’t be holding our breath.
Here’s Bob Murray from Kasich’s 2011 Energy Summit. Stick around to 30 seconds where he goes off on a rant about Barack Hussein Obama being a threat to our American way of life…
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