Time for the EPA to stop putting politics before facts
Lance Brown with PACE has a good editorial in the Houston Chronicle where he argues that it is time for the EPA to quit with the political games and move back to regulation that is based in science and reason.
Brown recounts the story of Al Armendariz, former EPA Region 6 Administrator who joked about his department’s “philosophy of enforcement” that included “crucifying” fossil fuel producers and “making examples of them” to ensure other energy producers would quickly fall in line with his department’s regulatory initiatives. Brown quite rightly points out that,
Armendariz’s rhetoric is not only shocking, it clearly validates what the EPA’s critics have been saying all along about the agency’s attitude toward energy companies.
When one melds that caustic attitude toward domestic energy producers with the EPA’s apparent willingness to use flawed and politically-motivated “science” in their attacks against energy production, we end up with cases like that faced by Range Resources in Texas. (Range Resources just happens to be one of the company that was subjected to Armendariz’s crucifixion-style “philosophy of enforcement”)
Armendariz’s office has already resorted to these intimidation tactics with at least one Texas energy producer. It alleged that Range Resources in Fort Worth contaminated the area’s groundwater. The EPA spent more than a year arguing these falsehoods until the Texas Railroad Commission conducted its own scientific study of the area and found no evidence to support the EPA’s claims. In fact, a federal judge reprimanded the EPA for accusing the company before having any evidence to do so, with Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter accusing Armendariz of “fear-mongering, gross negligence and severe mishandling of this case.”
Unfortunately, the attempted “crucifixion” of Range Resources is not an isolated incident.
There are several more examples that clearly show Armendariz, and more broadly the EPA, are gunning for energy producers in Texas.
Armendariz has resigned his position and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has distanced herself and the EPA from his comments. However, the fact that someone with Armendariz’ attitudes held this senior position for several years while carrying out this type of “negligent mishandling” of cases, all compounded by their very clear and determined war against the American coal industry, indicate that this one employee’s “philosophy” is likely far more widespread in this agency.
It is time for the EPA to leave off of politicking and get back to reason- and science-based regulation.