Administration officials scramble away from crucifixion comments

Steve Maley:
Earlier this week, a two-year old YouTube video surfaced that floated some raw sewage in the Obama Administration’s energy punchbowl. In it, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Almendariz, speaking to a group of Texas citizens, chuckles while comparing his agency’s environmental enforcement strategy vis-à-vis oil and gas operators to conquering Roman legionnaires’ strategy of random crucifixion. How quaint.
So the Washington politicians did what politicians have done since Roman times: go into damage-control mode and attempt to distance themselves from the offending act. From theWashington Post:
“Frankly, [the comments] were inflammatory but also wrong,” [EPA Administrator Lisa] Jackson said Friday when asked about a YouTube video discovered this week by Oklahoma Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe’s staff. “They don’t comport with either this administration’s policy on energy, our policy at EPA on environmental enforcement, nor do they comport with our record as well.”
The offending comments were uttered, not by low-level functionary deep in the bowels of EPA, but by a Presidential appointee, the Administrator of EPA Region 6. Region 6 covers “Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 66 Tribal Nations” and as such is home to 56% of domestic crude oil production and 59% of natural gas production. Needless to say, statements of the Region Administrator on enforcement policy carry some weight. The tough-guy policies certainly seemed consistent with the treatment of Range Resources. Range was the subject of a Region 6 “endangerment order”, an EPA accusation of groundwater contamination that was contradicted by the scientific evidence and ultimately dropped.
Plus, these weren’t the words of a leaked internal email.

He said it in public.

There is more.

The EPA actions against Range Resources in Texas fits within the definition of attacking an oil  company with no evidence and requiring them to expend money on lawyers to defend themselves.  This cost money for the oil company but the EPA is not under the same budget constraints.  It is a situation where they try to get the company to settle to avoid the litigation expense.  The attack on Range was so without merit that the EPA attorneys should have been sanctioned for bringing the action.


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