EPA Regional Administrator resigns over controversial video release

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 30, 2012- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz resigned from his position after a Republican Senator released controversial comments he made in 2010 about EPA's procedures.

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Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) uncovered the video of Armendariz last week in a speech on the Senate floor. Armendariz, who President Barack Obama appointed in 2009, said the following in the video:

"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…It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. 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."

The EPA said it was "deeply unfortunate that in a 2010 video an EPA official inaccurately suggested we are seeking to 'make examples' out of certain companies in the oil and gas industry."

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson accepted Armendariz's resignation today, after several calls for it last week after the video release. Armendariz served as Administrator to Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

“While I feel there is much work that remains to be done for the people of this country in the region that I serve, after a great deal of thought and careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work,” Armendariz said in his resignation letter to Jackson.

In response to the video release, Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter last Friday to Armendariz seeking information about the agency's enforcement practices and requesting his presence at a future hearing to explain his comments. The Committee asked him to testify in a hearing last year, but the EPA sent Assistant Administrator Gina McCarthy in his place.

“As this will be our second request to have you appear before our Committee, and in light of the seriousness of the concerns that need to be addressed, the Committee is prepared to use all authorities at its disposal to ensure your attendance,” states the Committee's letter. 


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