Posted by Matt Dempsey

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Inhofe rips EPA's 'crucify' approach

By MJ Lee

4/26/12 7:54 AM EDT

Sen. Jim Inhofe on Thursday blasted an EPA official's claim that the agency was using a "crucify them" strategy against oil and gas companies, calling it a part of President Barack Obama's "war on domestic energy."

"Let's keep in mind, this is all a part of Obama's war on domestic energy," the Oklahoma Republican said on "Fox & Friends." "He's the one who said that we have good natural gas and it's plentiful and all of that but we've got to stop hydraulic fracturing. This is the war on hydraulic fracturing."

Inhofe, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, had announced on Wednesday that he was launching an investigation into an EPA official's comments from 2010 that were caught on tape, in which he compared the agency's enforcement policies to how the Romans used to "crucify" people.

"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," EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz says in the video.

He continues, "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."

Inhofe said Thursday that the Obama administration is trying to put an end to hydraulic fracturing - a technique that he argued was critical for obtaining natural gas - by using "intimidation" and "threats." He also accused the president of trying to appease both the left and the right.

"What he's doing is saying - trying to make the public believe he is for domestic energy and specifically natural gas and oil and coal, but at the same time, he says that they're going to take over the regulation of the process called hydraulic," Inhofe said. "So it's an attempt to try to satisfy both sides. He's whispering to the left ... then he's saying to the public at the same time that we are for natural gas and all that."

Armendariz, the EPA official in the 2010 video who is taking heat for the "crucify" comments, has since offered an apology for his remarks. "I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words," he said.

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