An EPA official who apparently made good on a threat to “crucify” an oil company to make the entire energy industry “easy to manage” should resign or be fired. So why is the White House protecting him?
EPA regional administrator for Dallas Al Armendariz told a city council meeting in a taped speech two years ago that his “philosophy” of enforcement was to single out an oil company, punish it “as hard as you can,” and make an example of it to scare others into submission.
“The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean,” said Armendariz. “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.”
Armendariz later apologized for his “poor choice of words.” But the problem wasn’t his words, it was that he wasn’t kidding.
He put that “philosophy” into action by selectively and baselessly targeting Range Resources, a Texas-based driller that according to Forbes reporter Chris Helman, “was among the first to discover the potential of the Marcellus Shale gas field of Pennsylvania,” as well as two other drillers. That was the real problem, not violations. Texas investigators found EPA claims the company was polluting groundwater through its hydraulic fracking bogus. A judge threw out the charges.
Is this what’s meant by “crucifying”? Range is a pioneer in hydraulic fracturing, a new energy technology opposed by the Obama administration, which now says $9 a gallon at the pump is not out of the question.
Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, who first exposed the tape, called it part of “Obama’s war on domestic energy,” and said an investigation is needed.