APNewsBreak: Ohio groups seek US EPA coal review

JULIE CARR SMYTH AP Statehouse Correspondent Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Two Ohio environmental groups are asking federal regulators to investigate circumstances surrounding expired pollution-discharge permits at an agency where allegations of coal-industry influence arose during a personnel flap last year.

The Sierra Club and Ohio Environmental Council were sending their request to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday.

A copy of their letter provided to The Associated Press expresses the groups' concern that the Ohio EPA may be reluctant due to political pressure to impose pollution limits adequate to protect Ohio streams.

The AP reported last week that 18 coal facilities' permits have expired, 13 since Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) took office. The letter says a general surface-mining permit also has expired.

Ohio EPA says expired permits are legal, protective and enforceable.