Politics

Congressmen: EPA official who wants to ‘crucify’ companies needs to resign

Photo of Matthew Boyle
Matthew Boyle
Investigative Reporter

Two congressmen are demanding the immediate resignation of an Environmental Protection Agency official who publicly claimed it was his policy to “crucify” companies into compliance.

In a video that Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe first publicly criticized Wednesday, EPA Region VI administrator Al Armendariz compared his personal philosophy to that of ancient Roman conquerors.

“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,” Armendariz said in the video. “It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.”

After that, Armendariz added, “that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

While Armendariz has since apologized publicly for his remarks, Louisiana Republican Rep. John Fleming doesn’t think that’s enough. He thinks it’s time for the EPA official to resign now. (SEE ALSO: Inhofe to investigate EPA official’s ‘crucify them’ approach to oil and gas companies)

“The use of threats and intimidation to force energy companies to submit to an extremist agenda may be fitting under a totalitarian regime, but it is never acceptable in the United States,” Fleming said in a Thursday afternoon statement. “The sad reality is that Mr. Armendariz employed this strategy. Without real evidence, the EPA tried to stop a company that was safely drilling with hydraulic fracturing. The case was finally dismissed earlier this year, but it stands as an example of the EPA’s willingness to ‘crucify’ energy companies.”

The official’s “apology for his remarks is simply not enough,” Fleming added. “He should no longer be in a position from which he can wield his authority to intimidate hard-working companies.”

Fellow Louisiana Republican Rep. Jeff Landry also called for Armendariz’s resignation or firing.

“Americans should have no doubt that 4 more years of Mr. Obama in the White House is 4 more years of extremely high gas prices,” Landry said in a statement. “So, for the sake of American families and businesses, I am not only calling for the firing of Dr. Armendariz but also that of his boss — President Obama.”

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