Eighteen coal facilities in Ohio are operating with expired pollution-discharge permits issued by the Ohio EPA, an agency where allegations of coal-industry influence arose during a personnel flap last year.
An Associated Press review of agency records shows 13 of the 18 have expired since Republican Governor John Kasich took office in 2011, a quarter of the total. The agency's spokesperson says most are progressing toward updated approvals. Delayed permit renewals allow mining companies to avoid modernizing technologies as required under the Clean Water Act. Last August, the agency's surface-water chief said he was forced to retire after he refused to approve illegally weak permit updates. The agency's director also resigned. Kasich rejects claims mining interests influenced the departures.