On Thursday, the Daily Caller reported that two GOP House members from Louisiana said EPA Region VI administrator Al Armendariz should either resign or be fired over comments he made regarding the regulation of energy companies.
In a 2010 video criticized by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Armendariz compared his regulatory approach to that used by Roman emperors.
“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,” Armendariz said in the video.
“It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.
“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years,” he added.
Armendariz has publicly apologized for his comments, but Reps. John Fleming and Jeff Landry – both Republicans from Louisiana – want him gone.
“The use of threats and intimidation to force energy companies to submit to an extremist agenda may be fitting under a totalitarian regime, but it is never acceptable in the United States,” Fleming said Thursday.
“Americans should have no doubt that 4 more years of Mr. Obama in the White House is 4 more years of extremely high gas prices,” Landry said.
Fleming noted that Armendariz has already employed his strategy.
“Without real evidence, the EPA tried to stop a company that was safely drilling with hydraulic fracturing. The case was finally dismissed earlier this year, but it stands as an example of the EPA’s willingness to ‘crucify’ energy companies.”
Christopher Helman wrote at Forbes that Armendariz attempted to “crucify” Range Resources, a Fort Worth-based driller in 2010. According to Helman, the company “was among the first to discover the potential of the Marcellus Shale gas field of Pennsylvania — the biggest gas field in America and one of the biggest in the world.”
“Armendariz’s office declared in an emergency order that Range’s drilling activity had contaminated groundwater in Parker County, Texas. Armendariz’s office insisted that Range’s hydraulic fracking activity had caused the pollution and ordered Range to remediate the water,” he wrote.
After a year and a half, the EPA was still unable to prove Armendariz’s claim.
In recent months a federal judge slapped the EPA, decreeing that the agency was required to actually do some scientific investigation of wells before penalizing the companies that drilled them.
The EPA withdrew its order in March and a federal court dismissed the case.
On Wednesday, Armendariz apologized.
“I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words. 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,” he said.
But Fleming said his “apology for his remarks is simply not enough.”
“He should no longer be in a position from which he can wield his authority to intimidate hard-working companies,” he added.
Landry went even further.
“So, for the sake of American families and businesses, I am not only calling for the firing of Dr. Armendariz but also that of his boss — President Obama,” he said.
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