EPA under fire after Regional Administrator’s comments cause public to question agency’s impartiality


Senator Inhofe’s House address last week regarding an EPA Regional Administrator’s comments to “crucify” the oil and gas industry to make an example shook the industry over the weekend.

In a 2010 town hall meeting in Dish, Texas, Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz gave a crude analogy regarding “crucifixion” to explain of how the agency intends to handle the oil and gas industry. While the video documenting the speech was up on Friday, it since has been removed in many places online – but with a little digging you may be able to find it.

Here are parts of Armendariz’ quote:

“But as I said, oil and gas is an enforcement priority, it’s one of seven, so we are going to spend a fair amount of time looking at oil and gas production. And I gave, I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said. It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law.”

Armendariz went on to say, “Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly. That’s what these companies respond to is both their public image but also financial pressure. So you put some financial pressure on a company, you get other people in that industry to clean up very quickly. So, that’s our general philosophy.”

Senator Inhofe brought up this incident with Armendariz to question the impartiality and the EPAs handling of three significant cases for the oil and gas industry, which appear, from the industry’s perspectives to be witch hunts.

The three cases under question that the EPA has been excessively forceful without any evidence are in Dimock, Pa., Parker Country, Texas, and Pavilion, Wyoming.

In all three cases, highly publicized press releases, reports and statements were made to the public regarding what the EPA said is fact that hydraulic fracturing causes water contamination in those areas. Since those releases, the EPA has gone on to find no evidence supporting their publicized claims.

EPA Regional Administrator Armendariz has since apologized for his statements regarding “crucify them,” but I doubt the media lash back will be as easy as he hopes. On Monday, Armendariz resigned from his post over Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Mexico.

How has the EPA handled the oil and gas industry in your state? Is Armendariz’s principles something widespread among the entire EPA agency?

Source: SherWare Blog



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