Washington, D.C. - Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today responded to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz's apology for his comments revealed in a 2010 video where he admits that EPA's "general philosophy" is to "crucify" and "make examples" out of oil and gas companies. Senator Inhofe said today that Administrator Armendariz apologized for his words, but not for EPA's actions.
"Administrator Armendariz apologized yesterday for his 'poor choice of words' when he admitted that EPA's 'general philosophy' is to 'crucify' and 'make examples' of oil and gas companies, but he did not apologize for EPA's actions towards its apparent crucifixion victims," Senator Inhofe said. "Remember not long after Administrator Armendariz made this stunning admission, EPA targeted natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming, making headline-grabbing allegations that American energy producers were causing water contamination; but in each case, their comments were contrived, and despite their determination, they were unable to find any definitive evidence to back up their alarmist claims. When EPA's investigations did not turn out the way they had hoped, the agency quietly released several late-night statements admitting they were wrong, but by then, the damage was already done.
"This is not just an attack on a few American energy companies: this is an all-out war on affordable energy - an effort to stop domestic development of coal, oil and natural gas. What most Americans don't realize is that the recent energy boom in this country - which has spurred job creation, new government revenues, increased energy security, and revitalized manufacturing - would not be possible without hydraulic fracturing. With an election on the horizon, President Obama is pretending to be a friend of oil and natural gas, claiming he's for an 'all-of-the-above' approach, but Administrator Armendariz's comments reveal the true story: while President Obama has photo ops in front of pipelines in Oklahoma, his EPA is working aggressively to 'crucify' oil and gas producers so they can end hydraulic fracturing, knowing full well that if you stop hydraulic fracturing, you kill domestic oil and gas production.
"Take the word 'crucify' out of Administrator Armendariz's statement and nothing has changed: you still have a rogue agency following through on President Obama's 'general philosophy' to increase the price of gas and electricity - intimidating and levying huge fines on citizens and industry without sufficient justification or affording them due process. If EPA is truly serious about this apology, the agency will fully comply with my investigation and they can begin by quickly and thoroughly answering all the questions I asked in the letter that I sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday. I look forward to hearing from them very soon and will continue to monitor their actions closely."
R6 Regional Administrator Al Armendariz's Statement of Apology:
"I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words. It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation's environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws."
Statement by Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Cynthia Giles:
"Strong, fair and effective enforcement of the environmental laws passed by Congress is critical to protecting public health and ensuring that all companies, regardless of industry, are playing by the same rules. Enforcement is essential to the effectiveness of our environmental laws, ensuring that public health is protected and that companies that play by the rules are not at a disadvantage. The same holds true for companies involved in responsible and safe development of our nation's domestic energy resources."
In a video from 2010, Administrator Armendariz is caught on tape admitting,
"But as I said, oil and gas is an enforcement priority [...] 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 [...] So, that's our general philosophy."Link to Armendariz Video