As a result of his outrageous comments over “crucifying” oil and gas companies, Al Armendariz has resigned his post as regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency. Now it’s time for his boss, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, to accept responsibility as well.
Armendariz’s comments at a Dish, Texas meeting in 2010, where he spoke of “making an example” of oil and gas producers by treating them with the same rough justice the Romans applied in conquered territories, were released by the office of Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, one of the states regulated by Armendariz’s regional office.
Armendariz’s comments, however, are not just an indication of the immaturity and bad judgment of one high-ranking official at the EPA. They reflect a tyrannical and authoritarian mindset that permeates the agency. For a regional director of the EPA to speak as Armendariz did, stating that he intended to round up a number of respected American business leaders and crucify them, is a shocking violation of the trust that the American people put in government.
It would be interesting to know if Lisa Jackson was aware of Armendariz’s comments before they became widely known. If Ms. Jackson had prior knowledge of the videotaped remarks and decided to suppress them, that in and of itself should be grounds of her dismissal. But regardless of how much she knew and when she knew it, her support for Armendariz as regional EPA director is grounds enough. Even now, after Armendariz has resigned in disgrace, Jackson is expressing appreciation for his work at the agency and “respect” for his decision to resign.
In fact, Armendariz should never have been hired in the first place. Clearly, he was not a suitable candidate if one sought a director to approach oil and gas production in a fair and even-handed manner. That, however, is not what Ms. Jackson or President Obama sought. According to his own web page, Armendariz worked for years as an environmental activist, publishing one op-ed after another in support of regulation, seemingly without concern for the interests of energy companies or for the public which relies on those companies to supply its needs.