EPA ‘crucify’ official received $540k in federal taxpayer-funded research grants

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The EPA official who bragged about his “crucify them” enforcement philosophy against oil and gas companies — a story The Daily Caller was the first to report on Wednesday — has collected or shared in at least $540,522 in taxpayer dollars from the federal government to fund environmental projects that stretched from 2004 to 2010.

President Barack Obama appointed Alfredo “Al” Armendariz as the administrator for EPA’s South Central Region (Region 6) in Nov. 2009. Since his appointment he has been a thorn in the side of energy producers.

The “Obama-appointed” label often indicates a movement liberal, and the former Southern Methodist University professor’s Web pages — still hosted on SMU’s website and divided into “teaching,” “research,” and “clean air community service” — indicate both his past environmental activism and the grant money he has collected to carry it out.

“For historical purposes, I will plan on keeping my previously-generated SMU documents on this web page for as long as the IT office at SMU allows,” he explained on the site.

Armendariz’s “research” resume highlights the hundreds of thousands of dollars he received as a professor from government and private institutions for research on pollution and related topics.

Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid him $299,032 for a three-year study on the “Control of Workplace Diesel Exhaust Particulate” that ran from 2005 to 2008. (RELATED: Four more congressmen call for EPA official’s firing)

The Environmental Protection Agency also funded a $45,000 grant that Armendariz received from the Office of Environmental Services of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma in 2004. That research covered the “Development of a Field Test for Detecting Hydrocarbons in Soils.”

Between 2008 and 2010 Armendariz and an SMU colleague shared a $196,490 grant from the National Science Foundation for their research on “Acquisition of a Volumetric, 3-Component Particle Displacement and Velocity Measurement System for Mechanical and Environmental Engineering Measurements.”

Armendariz also received grant dollars from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Environmental Department of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council of New Mexico.

In his spare time, according to one of his SMU Web pages, Armendariz has taken on “community service” projects involving cement kilns, ozone problems and oil and gas sector emissions, and advocated for mass transit, high speed rail and severe emissions restrictions in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“The area in which I live, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, is classified as a non-attainment area for the ambient air quality ozone standard,” he wrote. “Ozone is a toxic gas and numerous studies show that high levels of ozone are associated with increased respiratory and cardio-vascular problems.”

“It is probably only a matter of time before DFW area violates PM [particulate matter] standards, unless stringent air pollution control measures are implemented.”

The opinion articles, reports, and memos Armendariz added to his “community service” Web page were posted prior to his tenure as an EPA official.

Ironically, in 2008 Armendariz complained to the Dallas Morning News that the EPA was not nearly effective enough in keeping Texas’ air clean. And in 2007 he sent Richard Greene, the Region 6 EPA administrator at the time, a long report about why it was necessary for the EPA to tighten its emissions standards and use “vigorous” enforcement mechanisms.

He also sent recommendations to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, urging its members to get more aggressive with polluters.

“I suggested to the TCEQ that they more aggressively require cuts in car, truck, and industrial emissions to help reduce ozone levels and protect public health,” he explained of one memo.

Three years later Armendariz would say that Roman crucifixion was his model for enforcement — comments for which he apologized late Wednesday.

During his eight years as an SMU professor, Armendariz taught undergraduate and graduate level courses including Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences, Fundamentals of Air Quality, Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Health, and Aerosol Mechanics.

He also received four “Outstanding Faculty” awards.

According to his resume, Armendariz is also a member of the advisory board of the Texas office of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a “technical advisor to citizen groups working on air quality issues in Texas and Colorado,” and a “summer instructor in the ‘ExxonMobil Green Team’ program for high school students.”

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