Former ‘crucify them’ EPA leader met with environmentalists instead of testifying before Congress

Hal Libby Contributor
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Former Environmental Protection Agency Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz skipped a scheduled appearance at a Congressional hearing Wednesday, but managed to squeeze a trip to the Sierra Club — in Washington, D.C., less than a quarter-mile from Capitol hill — into his busy day.

In a press release, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works ranking Republican Sen. James Inhofe declared the “mystery is solved. Rather than testifying in the House and being accountable for carrying out the Obama EPA’s ‘crucify them’ agenda, it appears Mr. Armendariz may have had a job interview with the Sierra Club.”

The Oklahoma Republican added that “at least at the Sierra Club, Armendariz won’t run the risk of losing his job for telling the truth about President Obama’s real agenda.” (RELATED: Complete coverage of the Al Armendariz scandal)

National Journal first discovered Armendariz was in Washington on Wednesday when a reporter visited the Sierra Club’s headquarters: The former EPA administrator’s name, the newspaper reported, “was written on the sign-in sheet as having been the last person to visit the office. The visit apparently came only a few hours after Armendariz had infuriated Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee when he canceled his scheduled testimony on EPA enforcement issues without offering a reason.”

Politico reported that Armendariz’s attorney had “simply said he would not be attending” the House hearing Wednesday, presumably without suggesting his client would be out of town and unavailable.

The Sierra Club has long been an Armendariz fan. Ken Kramer, the green group’s Texas chief, was none too pleased by his resignation.

“I think it’s unfortunate that he resigned, Kramer said, according to Houston Public Radio, “because there’s not going to be that personal commitment there on the part of an individual to really move us forward to try to clean up our air.”

Armendariz was recently forced to resign his EPA position after video footage surfaced of a speech he gave comparing the EPA’s enforcement agenda to Roman crucifixions. He was appointed to his former post by President Obama in 2009.