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Entries in Environmental Protection Agency (3)

Monday
Apr302012

EPA Regional Administrator Resigns Following ‘Crucify’ Comments

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Over the weekend, Environmental Protection Agency Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz resigned following a conservative outcry after remarks he made in 2010 came to light, suggesting government officials should take lessons from ancient Romans and “crucify” people not complying with environmental laws.

“As I have expressed publicly, and to you directly, I regret comments I made several years ago that do not in any way reflect my work as regional administrator,” Armendariz wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. “As importantly, they do not represent the work you have overseen as EPA administrator. 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. Therefore, I am offering my resignation, effective Monday, April 30, 2012.”

Jackson said in a statement that “Dr. Armendariz offered his resignation, which I accepted. I respect the difficult decision he made and his wish to avoid distracting from the important work of the Agency. We are all grateful for Dr. Armendariz’s service to EPA and to our nation.”

The 2010 video, publicized by frequent EPA foe Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., showed Armendariz saying that he gave the following analogy to his staff about his “philosophy of enforcement,” which he acknowledged being crude and perhaps inappropriate, but shared anyway: “It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean – they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw, they’d crucify ‘em, and that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Armendariz continued: “And so, you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law. You find people who are not complying with the law and you hit ‘em as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, there’s 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. And that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples.”

Last Thursday White House press secretary Jay Carney noted that Armendariz had “apologized and made clear that those comments are an inaccurate way to characterize the work EPA does.”

EPA Region VI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and dozens of tribal nations.

Oklahoma’s Inhofe was not convinced. “With an election on the horizon,” Inhofe said in a press release, “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 E.P.A. 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.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr262012

White House Says EPA Official’s ‘Crucify’ Comments Are ‘Inaccurate’

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The White House Thursday distanced itself from comments made by a regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency in which he suggested government officials should take lessons from ancient Romans and “crucify” people not complying with environmental laws.

In a 2010 video brought to light by frequent EPA foe Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., EPA Region VI Administrator Al Almendariz said that he gave the following analogy to his staff about his “philosophy of enforcement,” which he acknowledged being crude and perhaps inappropriate, but shared anyway: “It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean -- they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw, they’d crucify ‘em, and that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Almendariz continued: “And so, you make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law. You find people who are not complying with the law and you hit ‘em as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, there’s 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. And that won’t happen unless you have somebody out there making examples.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday noted that Almendariz has “apologized and made clear that those comments are an inaccurate way to characterize the work EPA does.”

Carney went on to argue that the comments also do not reflect Obama administration policy, saying “since the president took office, oil and gas production has increased each year. Oil is currently at an eight-year high, and domestic natural gas production is higher than at any time in history. On federal lands and waters alone, oil production is up 13 percent since the president took office. And in 2010, for the first time in 13 years, imported oil accounted for less than 50 percent of the oil consumed in America.”

Inhofe was not convinced. “With an election on the horizon,” Inhofe said in a press release, “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 E.P.A. 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.”

Asked why Almendariz was still employed at the EPA despite the president’s past calls for softening crude rhetoric, Carney said “he’s apologized and…what he said is clearly not representative of either this president’s belief in the way that we should approach these matters or in the way that he has approached these matters, either from this office here in the White House or at the EPA.” Region VI covers Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and dozens of tribal nations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jan102012

Obama Thanks EPA Staff for ‘Vital’ Work

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama visited the Environmental Protection Agency Tuesday to thank the staff for their “vital” work and to defend the mission of the agency, which has been targeted by Republicans on Capitol Hill and the campaign trail.

Although the president did not call out the EPA’s critics by name, he spoke out against claims that the agency’s policies hinder economic growth.

“Safeguarding our environment is also about strengthening our economy,” Obama said in his first visit to the EPA headquarters as president. “I do not buy the notion that we have to make a choice between having clean air and clean water, and growing this economy in a robust way. I think that is a false debate....What’s good for the environment can also be good for our economy.”

The president thanked the agency’s staff for protecting the environment and making progress toward energy independence.

“The main reason I’m here is simple:  I just want to say thank you,” Obama said. “You help make sure that the air we breathe, the water we drink, the foods we eat are safe.  You protect the environment not just for our children, but their children.  And you keep us moving towards energy independence.  And it is a vital mission.

“I know that sometimes spending time getting these policies right means less time at home than you’d like, and, you know, you’re missing birthday parties or you’re missing the soccer game, and the spouse is not happy with you.  I know a little bit about that sometimes,” the president joked.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio