Are you familiar with a certain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official named Al Armendariz?
Chances are you’ve never heard of him. We suspect most Americans haven’t. However, with the recent unearthing of the video below, that could change very soon.
Thanks to a little digging by the staff of Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), attention has been brought to a 2010 video that seems to confirm what many conservatives have long suspected: that the EPA is at war with the oil and gas industries.
“[O]il and gas is an enforcement priority, it’s one of seven, so we are going to spend a fair amount of time looking at oil and gas production,” Armendariz says in the video.
The top-ranking EPA official goes on to explain his philosophy of policy enforcement [emphases added]:
I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff…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.
And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there.
And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.
Watch the video here:
And, that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples of people. So you go out, you look at an industry, you find people violating the law, you go aggressively after them. And we do have some pretty effective enforcement tools. Compliance can get very high, very, very quickly.
That’s what these companies respond to is both their public image but also financial pressure. So you put some financial pressure on a company, you get other people in that industry to clean up very quickly.
“So, that’s our general philosophy,” he adds.
Now in regards to the crucifixion remarks: it’s obvious Armendariz is simply using over-the-top imagery to deliver a somewhat entertaining (albeit macabre) analogy.
But in regards to the rest of his remarks, and given some of the recent litigation brought against oil, gas, and coal producers by EPA, Mr. Armendariz’s speech seems to confirm the aforementioned idea that his department is at war with these industries.
The article has been updated.