On January 7th, Scott Nally resigned as Director of Ohio EPA after a three year stint. Local media coverage of his resignations raised questions regarding the abrupt and surprise announcement. Speculation included the fact that it was tied to the Nally’s firing of long-time Division of Surface Water Chief George Elmaraghy earlier this year. This from the Columbus Dispatch:
“We can’t understand what Director Nally did or didn’t do in complete lock step with this administration. Maybe he is voluntarily pursuing other interests, but it’s suspicious he didn’t personally make the announcement.”
Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said Nally’s resignation was not connected to the resignation last year of George Elmaraghy, who was chief of the EPA division that oversees the state’s efforts to protect streams, lakes and wetlands from pollution. Elmaraghy said he was asked to step down by Nally and Kasich because of clashes with the coal industry about water-pollution permits.
With Director Nally’s resignation, Craig Butler, who had served in Governor Kasich’s office, was named as interim Director. With the Governor’s election this November, it it unlikely a replacement will be named until after the election. This means Mr. Butler will more than likely serve as Director until after the election.
Butler brings a wealth of experience to the position. He served as an industrial liaison in the Director’s Office of Ohio EPA under Governor’s Voinovich and Taft. He also served as District Chief of Central District Office and Southeast District Office. More recently, he served in Governor Kasich’s Office as the Executive Assistant to various agencies, including Ohio EPA.
His background and experience will be a major asset to him as he serves as Director. He has seen the practical implications of EPA regulations on businesses, dealt with local issues as a District Chief as well as the political side to the Agency (Both in the Director’s Office and Governor’s Office).