EPA Region 6 Administrator: Crucify Energy Companies

Roman crucifixionLest you think MDN is a bit off the reservation when it comes to criticisms of the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you might want to read about EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz in an expose by Forbes magazine. Region 6 oversees Texas and surrounding states. Armendariz, a former professor at Southern Methodist University and appointed by President Obama in November 2009 to be Region 6 administrator, is caught on tape talking about his philosophy of “enforcement” and how to target oil and gas companies. He compares his approach to enforcement to how the Romans used to enter a village, find the first five men they could find and crucify them on the spot so the other villagers would be compliant. (See the embedded video below.)

Yeah, that’s the we-love-domestic-natural-gas-and-oil Obama EPA for you. Can’t you feel the love?

Two years ago Armendariz targeted Range Resources to be crucified (at about the same time the video below was filmed). Range, as you may know, was the first company to sink a Marcellus Shale gas well in western Pennsylvania in 2003. Armendariz’s office declared in an emergency order in 2010 that Range’s drilling activity had contaminated groundwater in Parker County, Texas. The outcome of that charge?

For a year and a half EPA bickered over the issue, both with Range and with the Texas Railroad Commission [TRRC], which regulates oil and gas drilling and did its own scientific study of Range’s wells and found no evidence that they polluted anything. 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. Finally in March the EPA withdrew its emergency order and a federal court dismissed the EPA’s case.

David Porter, a commissioner on the Texas Railroad Commission, wasn’t impressed. “Today the EPA finally made a decision based on science and fact versus playing politics with the Texas economy. The EPA’s withdrawal of the emergency order against Range Resources upholds the Railroad Commission Final Order that I signed concluding that Range is not responsible for any water contamination in Parker County. Al Armendariz and the EPA’s Region Six office are guilty of fear mongering, gross negligence and severe mishandling of this case. I hope to see drastic changes made in the way the regional office conducts business in the future – starting with the termination of Al Armendariz.”*

Strong words from the TRRC. Armendariz is now backpedalling big-time. He’s apologizing and promising to be a good boy. But the TRRC and others are right to call for his termination—especially in light of the video. Time for Armendariz to sample a little of his own metaphorical Roman medicine.

*Forbes (Apr 26, 2012) – EPA Official Not Only Touted ‘Crucifying’ Oil Companies, He Tried It

  • Typical of the Obama energy non-policy.  We need change in the WH!

  • Anonymous

    Typical knucklehead , jump to judgement,saying nothing political pawn. I don’t even like the way the guy dresses, his wife needs to put out his suit ,shirt and tie so at least he looks like he knows what he’s talking about. This is the best defense Obama, has to ensure compliance? God help us all. Its just nice to know that drilling companies for the most part are following the rules and are somewhat stewards of the land they are working on. Hearing comments from Workingman who writes on this site and  is in the trenches puts a light on what is actually going on at a drilling site. I truly believe that these men and women that work in the field know what is a stake every time they place a bit into the ground. Lucky for us that they have a conscience, because knuckleheads like Armendariz doesn’t have a clue what end of the drilling rig is going into the ground.keep up the good work. Get Obama out of office this November./

  • Anonymous

     I assume you did not see the original video of Armendariz because otherwise you would know that he was was making an  analogy about gas and oil companies that break the law. I quote ……..” And so you make examples out of people WHO ARE NOT COMPLIANT WITH THE LAW and you hit them hard as you can and make examples out of them  and there is a deterrent effect  there “……
      You claim you tell it like it is without left wing bias so how do you explain playing along with the right wing spin that this EPA administrator was making war  on the oil and gas industry in general?…I thought  you guys like the idea of deterrence of crime by making examples of lawbreakers.

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