The EPA Region 6 administrator who boasted of his “crucify them” philosophy of enforcement for oil and gas producers has resigned from his post at EPA. Al Armendariz announced Monday that he had submitted a letter of resignation Sunday.
In a letter to friends made public by The Dallas Morning News Monday, the EPA official — who came under fire following the release of video of a speech he made in 2010 — asserted that the decision to resign was his own and praised President Obama as the “most environmental president we have ever had.”
“Today I am resigning my position as regional administrator. This was not something that was asked of me by Administrator Jackson or the White House,” Armendariz wrote to friends. “It is a decision I made myself. I had become too much of a distraction, and no one person is more important than the incredible work being done by the rest of the team at EPA.”
His comments were featured in a floor speech delivered last week by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe, who used them as proof that the EPA has an anti-oil and gas agenda.
The Armendariz speech compared the EPA to 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. “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’d crucify them,” Armendariz continued. “And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law.” Shortly after his comments were made public Armendariz apologized for his words.
Prior to his resignation the EPA administrator had more than half of the representatives from the states contained within Region 6 calling for his ouster. Dear Friends,
I have been honored to serve as your regional administrator for EPA’s region 6 office the last 2 and ½ years. I never once forgot that the reason I was appointed was to serve you, to act as your voice, and to work day and night to better protect the environment and your safety.
Today I am resigning my position as regional administrator. This was not something that was asked of me by Administrator Jackson or the White House. It is a decision I made myself. I had become too much of a distraction, and no one person is more important than the incredible work being done by the rest of the team at EPA.
I leave with an incredible sense of pride for the things the Agency accomplished and it was fantastic to be a part of the effort. Administrator Jackson has overseen a renaissance in the Agency and it is again the global leader in environmental protection. President Obama has been incredibly supportive of me and my work and the Agency. He’ll undoubtedly go down as the most environmental president we have ever had.
Thank you all for letting me into your homes and communities, and showing me the challenges you face every day from pollution and lack of infrastructure. Your stories are now part of my fabric and the fabric of the Agency.