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EPA Official Quits in ‘Crucify’ Flap

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

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The top federal official overseeing environmental policy in the nation’s Oil Belt has resigned after saying his regulators should “crucify” oil companies that violate the law to make an example of them.

Al Armendariz submitted his resignation Sunday (April 29) as the Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator of Region 6, which covers Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

 Amendariz frequently found himself at odds with the state’s government and oil industry.

 EPA

Based in Texas, Armendariz frequently found himself at odds with the state’s government and oil industry.

The resignation took effect Monday (April 30).

Armendariz came under fire last week for newly publicized comments he made in 2010 at a local Texas government meeting. Armendariz suggested that regulators approach their job like the ancient Romans did in crushing rebellion.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) cited the remarks, shown in a recently posted YouTube video, to support his longstanding contention that EPA is anti-energy and anti-business.

‘You Make Examples Out of People’

The comments drew fire both for their seeming endorsement of a slash-and-burn enforcement policy and for the words chosen.

The remarks came during a 90-minute speech to residents of Dish, TX, amid a discussion over the natural gas drilling method known as fracking (hydraulic fracturing).

Armendariz tells his audience about a “crude” and “maybe inappropriate” analogy he once used to describe his enforcement philosophy.

“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean,” he said. “They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them.

“And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

He added, “And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not complying with the law. Find people who are not complying with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and make examples of them,” to act as a “deterrent” to others.

‘Entirely Inaccurate’

In a statement released Thursday by EPA, Armendariz said: "It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws.”

The same day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the comments “entirely inaccurate as a characterization of the work EPA does.”

 EPA official Al Amendariz resigned over what he had called a “crude” and “maybe inappropriate” analogy.

 YouTube

EPA official Al Armendariz resigned over what he had called a “crude” and “maybe inappropriate” analogy.

“What he said is clearly not representative of either this President’s belief in the way we should approach these matters or the way [the President] has approached these matters,” Carney added.

‘Important Work’

On Friday, dozens of lawmakers called for Armendariz’s firing.

In his resignation letter to EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Armendariz said he was proud of his record at EPA but had “come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work.”

Jackson said in a statement that the EPA was “grateful for Dr. Armendariz’s service to EPA and to our nation.”

Sam Coleman, Armendariz’s deputy, has been named acting administrator for EPA’s Region 6.

Under Fire

EPA has been the No. 1 regulatory target for critics of the Obama administration. Republicans, including presidential contender Mitt Romney, have blamed the agency for high gasoline prices and accuse it of trampling small businesses.

Nowhere has the battle been hotter than in Texas, where Armendariz was based. The state has been locked in a long-running lawsuit with the agency over Texas’s emissions permitting program.

   

Tagged categories: Emissions; Enforcement; EPA

Comment from James Johnson, (5/2/2012, 4:26 PM)

So it is finally out in the open that the EPA Rules by intimidation! Well, that is not new as we already knew it, just had not had it confirmed directly by them. Last month a EPA attorney told the Supreme Court that they intentionally put off hearings, while racking up penalties at the rate of $75,000 per day, intentionally to force people to submit to them. They did get a distinct admonishment from one of the Judges, saying that was not only unacceptable but was repressive towards the individual. The Supreme Court did find for the couple who were suing the EPA. Then there is the situation of Gibson Guitars being shut down, all the workers being sent home and business stopped while it is investigated if the wood they use was properly imported. The EPA refuses to file charges or assess any penalties, but they have kept the company closed just to exert their full force of intimidation. This is the kind of thing we read about in history lessons on repressive Kings and royalty...not the kind of thing that should go on in America. This is precisely why the founders gave only enumerated power to the federal government when they founded it, with all other powers belonging to the States. They had already experienced repressive government and wanted to be sure this never ever happened in America.


Comment from Mike McCloud, (5/4/2012, 9:23 AM)

Right on James, this stuff is bringing this country down....fast


Comment from Anna Jolly, (5/4/2012, 9:49 AM)

Talk about foot in mouth disease! This guy needed to be fired for being so stupid about what came out of his mouth. Even if that is your view of how to regulate. You don't tell a room full of people. What a fool.


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