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EPA Official Resigns over Crucifixion Comments

On Friday, we discussed the regulatory philosophy of certain Environmental Protection Agency officials in how they regulate the U.S. oil and gas sector.

Dr. Alfredo Armendariz, the EPA regional administrator for Region 6, was overly candid in a 2010 policy discussion in which he said that the agency's stance is to "crucify" a few oil and gas companies in order to set an example and force the rest of the industry to submit to new rules.

"You make examples out of people who are not complying with the law," he stated.

Now, it looks like those comments have cost him his job.

Morgan Little at the LA Times explains.

"Alfredo Armendariz, a regional administrator for theEnvironmental Protection Agency, has resigned in the wake of criticism for comments made in Texas two years ago comparing the methods of the EPA to those of Romans using crucifixions to conquer foreign lands."

The resignation is certainly a starting point in order to limit the political damage.

However, it's clear that rooting out this sort of blatant use of force will not limit ongoing investigations into the EPA by members of Congress.

Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, commented soon after the EPA official's resignation.

"We will continue our investigation into the situations surrounding EPA's apparent crucifixion victims: the American people deserve to know why, in at least three separate cases, EPA tarnished the reputation ofcompanies by accusing them of water contamination; then when the results of their study did not turn out the way they hoped, and they had no definitive evidence to make that link, they quietly walked back their accusations. We will get to the bottom of this – and we will continue looking into EPA's actions on hydraulic fracturing beyond these three cases as well."

What Isn't Needed in an EPA Official…

The major issue moving forward centers on transparency within the agency that's designed to overlook the processes in the full energy supply chain.

You see, the costs of compliance in the energy sector are very high. With each new ruling, each new code, each new permit required to conduct business, it becomes harder and harder to manage.

And when the general attitude is that blunt force is excusable when attempting to get energy companies to comply, it creates a very hostile environment that distorts the markets and makes it very difficult for organizations to plan into the future.

The United States does need to understand the environmental impacts of technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling. What isn't needed, however, is for the watchdogs to lack any accountability for their statements or actions, and for them to maintain this level of arrogance regarding the power they have.

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