EPA Admin’s Comments Unacceptable
Everyone is rightly outraged over offensive videotaped comments made by now-former EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz in which he compared his dealings with energy companies to the crucifixion of innocent people and other brutal Roman tactics.
His Monday resignation wasn't much of a surprise -- not nearly as surprising as his brazen honesty about how he viewed energy companies and how he dealt with them.
Beyond the jaw-dropping unprofessionalism he displayed and the utterly appalling nature of his comments, Armendariz had confirmed everyone's worst suspicions about his approach to managing his region. If, before, it merely appeared that the EPA was more interested in forcing companies to follow its political agenda than in cleaning the air and water, Armendariz volunteered overwhelming evidence to prove exactly that.
As a practical matter, Armendariz's comments entirely undercut any presumption of fairness when it comes to a company's dealings with the EPA. How can anyone take the EPA seriously again when its top southwest regional enforcement officer went on the record stating that his model to dealing with energy companies is crucifixion?
We also need to consider how many jobs have been needlessly killed due to the EPA's irrational approach to "enforcement."
Even with his resignation, an individual such as Armendariz doesn't get appointed to such a lofty position by mistake. While Armendariz's words landed him in hot water, the philosophy he expressed appears to be one that has affected the agency system-wide, and the roots of that philosophy start at the very top.
We urge the administration to replace him with someone who will work to protect our natural resources in a way that bolsters the economy, rather than vilifying our nation's energy producers and imposing job-killing, high cost mandates that are passed on to consumers.