Hoppy’s Commentary for Sunday/Monday

Occasionally, someone in politics tells the truth, and it’s enlightening.  

Last week, a video surfaced of Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Al Armendariz (pictured right) in a speech two years ago where he compared enforcement to Roman crucifixion.

“My philosophy of enforcement,” he said, “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.  And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Armendariz was trying to make the point that when the EPA finds people who are not complying with the law, hit them as hard as possible and make examples out of them. 

Interestingly, Armendariz’s comments were not one time, off-the-cuff remarks.  He pointed out in his speech in the town of Dish just outside Dallas that he first used the crucifixion analogy when speaking with his staff about his enforcement philosophy.

When the video went national, Armendariz retreated and apologized for “my poor choice of words.”  He also said his analogy was an “inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws.”

He should not have apologized or issued any sort of corrective statement, because his original statement is the most accurate description to date of the smug and overreaching exercise of federal power by the Obama Administration’s EPA.

The EPA’s responsibility to enforce the country’s environmental laws is not in dispute.  What is in question, however, are the attempts by this agency to bend the law to its own will.  

Here are just a few examples:

–Armendariz’s comments came at about the time his agency was blaming Texas-based Range Resources for contaminating water supplies through hydraulic fracturing.  The EPA eventually had to drop their action against Range after it was determined that the drilling did not cause methane contamination of water wells. 

–Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of an Idaho couple the EPA accused of destroying “wetlands” on a piece of property where they were going to build a house.  The EPA imposed fines of thousands of dollars for each day of noncompliance and gave the couple no avenue of appeal.

–A federal judge determined last month that the EPA overstepped its authority when it revoked a permit for a mountaintop removal mine in Logan County.  The permit had been lawfully issued previously by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

–When Congress failed to pass cap-and-trade legislation, the EPA imposed its own carbon reduction standards.  The new rules on greenhouse gas emissions are so strict that environmentalists predict they will make it nearly impossible to build any new coal-fired power plants.  

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has weighed in on Armendariz’s slip, feigning disappointment that one of her regional chiefs would so badly misrepresent the agency’s mission.

Said Jackson of Armendariz’s comments, “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.”

Actually, his comments most certainly do accurately reflect this autocratic EPA… and that’s why Armendariz got into so much trouble.



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