EPA Regional Chief Al Armendariz Steps Down In Wake of "Crucify" Comment

armendariz.jpg
Before SMU prof Al Armendariz had even warmed the seat at his post as EPA regional chief, he was pilloried as an activist whose research into the air pollution caused by fracking operations made him unfit to run a five-state office overseeing some of the industry's most important drilling grounds.

He was appointed by President Obama at the end of 2009, several years into a shale gas play that had already re-drawn the energy map in this country -- and whose development had gone virtually unchecked and unstudied. And as Republican presidential candidates vowed to put the EPA on its budgetary chopping block, the agency and Armendariz in particular found a cluster of targets on their backs.

His profile, he now says, has become a "distraction" from the EPA's mission. Earlier today he resigned.

As chronicled in this week's cover story, "Fire in the Hole," his office last month withdrew an endangerment order accusing natural gas producer Range Resources of contaminating a water well in rural Parker County. It was the first order of its kind in Texas, and its withdrawal was seen by his critics as a tacit admission that the agency had overreached, even though it came with an agreement that Range would conduct drinking water testing in the area for another year.

Then, last week, a 2010 video surfaced in which Armendariz recounted a parable told to his enforcement staff. Because his office was understaffed, he said it was necessary to make examples of bad actors as a deterrent -- to "crucify" them like the Romans did, preemptively quelling an uprising or, in this case, encouraging good behavior in the vast fracking industry.

It turned out to be the final dustup, according to the Dallas Morning News. "I had become too much of a distraction," he wrote in a letter to his supporters, "and no one person is more important than the incredible work being done by the rest of the team at EPA."

His resignation came, apparently, with no pressure from either EPA administrator Lisa Jackson or the White House. The decision, he writes, was his own.

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RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

WHY DID IT TAKE YEARS AND YEARS FOR THE SUPERFUND TO CLEAN UP TOXIC DUMPS?   BECAUSE THE EPA FAILED TO DEFINE "HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN" THUS PREVENTING ANYONE FROM CLEANING UP ANYTHING IN THE POLUTED ENVIRONMENT.  THE EPA IS TOTALLY POLITICAL AND GRIDLOCKED IN BUREAUCRACY.  WORTHLESS BUNCH OF JIMMY CARTER BLIND FOLLOWERS WHO PRETEND TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT WHILE DOING NOTHING PRODUCTIVE.   DOING "NOTHING" IS NOT THE SAME AS "FIXING ANYTHING".

Mary
Mary

To Brantley Hargrove and Mr. Armendariz,My deepest thanks for all your efforts to expose and curtail FRACKING.  The very chemicals used in fracking, and which are showing up in people's household drinking water,  KILLED my 48 y/o father of 6 young children in 1961. He was dead in 7 months after inhaling the fumes for 15 seconds only 4 times daily while having to pass through a hallway outside of a  warehouse where these chemicals were stored and processed for shipping.  The chemicals destroyed his bone marrow and we had to watch him hemorrhage to death through every pore in his body.  His Hematology Doctor at the time was the son of Eisenhower's Secretary of State, Christian Herter.  Dr. Herter was able to find these very same chemicals in my father's bone marrow before he took his last breath few breaths.

The word "crucify" was not too strong for these oil companies who worship the "god of money", but crucifixion would be too easy for them.  Their punishment awaits them, for the "god of money" whom they have chosen awaits them in a very ugly, fume clogged place in the hereafter.

May God Bless all those like Mr. Armendariz, President Obama and the EPA staff who are trying to protect the rest of us from the Tyrants- Would Be Titans of the oil industry.

pbluett
pbluett

The word "crucify" was not too strong......,No it is merely inapprorpriate, and soulessly, inept and vindictive.  One needs absolute proof instead of mindlessly  flying off the handle.  This was a  useless PR stunt gone wrong  courtesy of an ineffectual impotent govt. agency under a (to quote the WSJ) "Ron Burgundy" presidency.

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

 GOSH, IN 1961 ALL THE YOUNG MEN WERE OVER IN VIETNAM GETTING TOXIFIED BY AGENT ORANGE USED BY THE US GOVERNMENT TO DEFOLIATE THE JUNGLES....AND THERE WAS A DEMOCRAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE DIRECTING IT TOO....MY GOODNESS....

RTGolden
RTGolden

Actually, Operation Ranch Hand didn't start until 1962.  Prior to 1962 the only defoliant used was Agent Pink.  Agent Orange wasn't first used until 1965.

Now you could re-write your completely irrelevant comment and add in actual facts.

Mclegal1
Mclegal1

Crucify?   Correct response is:   Give the polluters an award and ask for a campaign donation . . .

Why would you be against someone breaking a law?  (Unless they are an immigrant with no money . . .)

bit_torrent
bit_torrent

Mr. Al Armendariz, now that you have quite a bit of spare time on your hands, I am hoping beyond hope that I found a blog that you might be reading while looking for a job.

You see I am a big believer in give out enough rope and they will hang themselves; and I saw this come to fruition this Sunday. god bless you for stepping down, and for hearing the howls of us who have heating bills and live in the N.E.

You really made big ears proud by just adding another problem to his smorgasbord of many... (GSA, S.S.A. in Columbia, correspondent dinner flop, Chinese dissident in our embassy) and well you get the picture. Tally Ho and we hope to see you in the bread line richardcranium that you are!

claytonauger
claytonauger

Lay off the sauce and Faux News....

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

 YOUR ARUGULA SALAD IS READY NOW BARRY

pbluett
pbluett

Speaking of which, doesn't the EPA regulate the second hand cigarette smoke emissions in the exclusive public housing which is the White House?

Willie
Willie

He was well qualified but naive.  EPA has every right, and the duty, to regulate emissions of air pollutants.  The order against Range Resources was ill-advised because it was not based on sound, objective science.  And when he sent emails to community activists, the only conclusion one can draw was that he was biased.  I've read his reports.  He's a good engineer, but a lousy administrator.

claytonauger
claytonauger

 Yeah, that's why all the EPA staff loved him. Every EPA Administrator has a group of friends before they get to the office. People such as yourself that work for industry are just upset you weren't in that circle the way you usually are.

Willie
Willie

I've worked for many different industries and many different governments.  The point I made is that he was not objective.  It is one thing to interpret data differently, but it's another thing to pontificate based on poor science.  At some point in your career, biases, particularly if they are aired in public, will catch up with you and you pay the consequences or accept the fact you are a whore to your clientele, whether it is a particular industry or a particular government.  He made several major professional missteps that cost him not only his job, but seriously damaged his reputation.

Max from the Sandspit
Max from the Sandspit

The real rason that the boy stepped down was because his resume was published online by Bryan Preston, turnes out it's thinner than BO's.

claytonauger
claytonauger

You're kidding right? He's the first engineer to occupy the slot, as opposed to folks with no environmental background. He was the best qualified nominee and still is. His resume has been online since he was at SMU.  Who the heck is Bryan Preston?

pbluett
pbluett

Yea, he really covered himself with glory.(lol).

Max from the Sandspit
Max from the Sandspit

Not kidding at all, the boyz a psycophant. Bryan Preston writes for P J Media.

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

Let's hope that after a brief vacation, he comes back with some valuable information as to how the gas industry has got the federal, state, and city governments by the balls and gets what they want, anytime they want with just a good a squeeze. He's got access to a 'Pandora's box of information' worth waiting for. See you soon Dr.!

JL
JL

Dr Armendariz is a very knowledgeable, apolitical, well intentioned American engineer. He was not invited to the EPA because he supported or not the Obama administration, but rather because through one of his technical studies of a few years ago he proved the process of natural gas extraction (known as "fracking") done near the Dallas Metroplex by some of our oil and gas companies was causing more pollution than all cars, trucks and airplanes in town! He, and the EPA, do not make laws; they can only enforce them. A weak EPA, without good and technical people like Dr Armendariz, who can understand and argue about the processes used by many companies, is similar to having "Wall Street" without any oversight: greed overruns public interest very easily (see more recently Enron, Countrywide, Ameriquest, Lehman Brothers, and others as examples). The government, be it represented by Obama, George W., Clinton, Reagan or whoever, is the only institution strong enough to defend public interest and the capitalistic system, keeping profit seeking from turning into greed and against the public good.

SDW
SDW

Unfortunately, our green friends at the EPA  do not merely enforce the law, but elevate enforcement into law, i.e.,they overreach by transforming the process of enforcing the law into the legal status of the law itself. That dog won't hunt.

pbluett
pbluett

It's called targeted  "over-criminalization" a well known staple of the EPA, as well as the Reno and Holder DOJ.

CJAZ
CJAZ

I call bullshit on all these "he's a hero" commenters.

If this had been some congressional aide talking to a constituent group about "crucifying" welfare cheats, illegal immigrants, or violent Occupy protesters, all of these tree-huggers would be calling for his head just as loudly.

Hypocrisy at its finest.

claytonauger
claytonauger

 No, then you never would have heard about it because the right wing echo chamber wouldn't have contrived the whole thing.

RTGolden
RTGolden

correction: You never would have heard about it from right wing politicians and activists because the left wing echo chamber would have contrived the whole thing.

I'm not weighing in on the merits of either side of this particular argument, but to boldly state that political misdirection only occurs from the right is, in itself, political misdirection.

claytonauger
claytonauger

Dr. Armendariz's comments were made in DISH, Texas where, among other things, they have 11 giant gas compressors spewing pollution into the air 24/7. The comments were to a group of citizens who were angry at the lack of government action to protect them from that pollution. DISH went 80% Republican in 2008, but Dr. Armendariz could be elected Mayor there tomorrow. This is an incredible smear campaign that resulted in a loss for this country and especially citizens being abused by pollution in Region 6. That know-nothings like Inhofe and his allies can take down such a good man brings shame on us all. People who are commenting on this case from afar have no idea what they're talking about. Dr. Armendariz isn't a big donor. He's not a Party hack. He's not a lawyer. He's a respected engineer who got appointed because the people in Region 6 beat up by polluters wanted him. They still do. Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2... 

bit_torrent
bit_torrent

 "spewing pollution Tex'?; but I'll galdang guarantee you like your hot shower in the morning. Get real dude!

pak152
pak152

""I had become too much of a distraction,""

no it was because your biases were exposed.

DoubleOJoe
DoubleOJoe

Call me crazy, but when it comes to protecting the environment, I want an administrator who is biased in favor of protecting the environment.

pak152
pak152

 "A scientific study that spawned a federal law requiring the testing of chemicals for their potential to interfere with hormonal processes has been found to be the product of scientific misconduct."Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0..."6. During that investigation, I have discovered that the government, in its assessment of the risks of fluoride exposure, violated accepted standards of professional conduct. 7. In the spring of 1985, allegations of scientific misconduct in the development of EPA's fluoride in drinking water standard were made to the union by an EPA professional intimately familiar with the work on the standard."http://www.fluoridealert.org/c...

pak152
pak152

 oh I wouldn't mind an adminstrator who is out to protect the environment either as long as the decisions are based on solid scientific evidence and not some finger in the wind methodology. EPA has been exposed in the past as jiggering data in order to meet their decisions. look at the spotted owl turns out their numbers are shrinking not from loss of habitat but rather by predation from another larger owl. http://www.examiner.com/articl...

or take a look at how they went after the Sacketts claiming the land was wetlands when it was no such thing

EPA rarely if ever takes into account the economic impact of their decisions

RUSKNATIVE
RUSKNATIVE

 try to find info NOT skewed by the Sierra Club then.

realistic treehugger
realistic treehugger

Actually, the Sacketts wanted to fill in a natural wetland on their property which per Clean Water Act is considered waters of the United States..even on private land.  Besides, what jackass fills in a natural wetland to build a McMansion???  Would you not want to look out your window and watch birds landing and utilizing that area? People do not realize how that has a ripple effect on the ecology and can alter the hydrological regime of an area. On the coast, the wetlands peform a critical job of buffering the inland from flooding during hurricanes.

RC
RC

He won't tell you who he is, because for one thing he doesn't even live around here.

Heavy Metal Church Lady
Heavy Metal Church Lady

pak152,

Scientists have been using deductive methodology since Descartes. What gives with this inductive approach? 

Why not point out all the times the EPA has assigned Responsible Party status and they've erred, or citizens' groups that have forced remediation through the EPA and have erred?

Then name all the companies, corporations and industries that have taken it upon themselves to warn citizens about known hazards or initiate cleanups without any regulatory body putting pressure on them.

Should we let the Koch brothers, Gov. Perry, and Sen. Inhofe be the arbiters of what is good for us and the environment? Perry said the BP oil spill was an "act of God." Look up some of Inhofe's statements on Israel and general concepts of causality, pretty whack-a-doodle. 

Marianagriggs
Marianagriggs

Thanks for the enlightening video by Michael Crichton, author. For the record, I do not blindly follow, I am trained as a Scientist, a Biologist/Forensic Entomologist. My work deals with the smallest of creatures that are affected by minute amounts of pollution everyday. Yes, I like my hot showers just fine, but I keep a timer in the shower so I only use what's necessary. If I rail against polluters its because I work hard to practice what I am talking about. My conscience is clear, is yours?One last time, show yourself for who you are or your sources are just as fake as your identity.

Marianagriggs
Marianagriggs

 Again, I like corresponding with real people, give me your name and then we can converse. Fox News is not conversation. I am not defending the EPA, I am defending keeping our air and water clean. And, @ bit_torrent: Bring your soapbox

pak152
pak152

 apparently like other true believers of the Church of Environmentalism http://youtu.be/Vv9OSxTy1aU

you didn't bother to read the link I posted. go back and read the statement by the EPA scientist who accused the EPA of "professional misconduct" personally I think fluoride is correct. but when even one of their own makes an accusation....

of course heretics must be mocked and excommunicated. it is why whenever someone brings up a point of view or fact that runs contrary to the environmentalist dogma they are accused of being shills for the industry under investigation.

here is an example "Dr. Alan Carlin, now retired, was a career environmental economist at EPA when CEI broke the story of his negative report on the agency’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases in June, 2009.  Dr. Carlin’s supervisor had ordered him to keep quiet about the report and to stop working on global warming issues.  EPA’s attempt to silence Dr. Carlin became a highly-publicized embarrassment to the agency, given Administrator Lisa Jackson’s supposed commitment to transparency."http://cei.org/news-releases/e...

bit_torrent
bit_torrent

Fraking does NOT contaminate the water, it was this dipsh*t who planted the story. Do I have to bring my soapbox down there from Maine to educate you oil consumers?

claytonauger
claytonauger

Flouride? That's your scandal? Join the rest of he cast of Dr. Strangelove. 

pak152
pak152

 I guess you missed this quote from one of the links I posted"By August 1997, Arnold was forced to retract his study from publication. His retraction stated, "We … have not been able to reproduce the results we reported." He later added, "I can't really explain the original findings."Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0... couldn't REPRODUCE the results well well

pak152
pak152

 and apparently there is never ever anything wrong with the studies conducted by the EPA? why does the EPA make their grants only to folks who support the EPA.would love to see unbiased studies but apparently that is not in the nature of the EPAare you saying that EPA is always right? that they have never ever done anything wrong? that they have never falsified information? that they have never faked anything. pls mariannagriggs maybe you should spend some of your time investigating what EPA has done wrong. Remember the Sacketts (or don't they count?)

Marianagriggs
Marianagriggs

 @pak152:disqus After you find your real name, perhaps YOU should try your hand at finding credible research NOT bought and paid for by the industry being regulated. I bet you will not find much, but if you do, let me know, with your real name already.I have been working on this project for two years trying to find actual evidence not skewed by industry. When studies are conducted and preliminary results are posted, they are discredited by industry and the study is never completed. That's why you cannot find the truth. If any scientist comes up with credible evidence, the scientist is discredited, via political discussion.It is a sad day when Industries' empty wallet sounds louder than the cries of contaminated water sources and the people forced to drink them. The need for Clean Air and Clean Water cross all party lines and the children whose health is in jeopardy from all this pollution are not politically motivated,Maybe you don't need good regulations for polluters because you own your own water, T. Boone?

Steve T
Steve T

To have an effective EPA (which we need to balance business power), it must be as objective as possible, enforcing the law fairly based on the latest and most sound science.  Mr. A gave the agency's opponents ammunition, and they used it; one step forward, two steps back, unfortunately.

Bluenote
Bluenote

I agree. It may sound tough to muse such language but we aren't in ancient rome and the use of such language is just counter productive and silly. He behaved badly.

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Heaven forbid we should go after companies that break the law

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Thank god this guy is finally gone. We don't need any bleeding heart tree hugging hippies watchdogs getting in the way of Harold Simmons' brand new toxic waste dump, if anything goes wrong with that and the Ogallala Aquifier is poisoned for a few hundred years the The Market will surely fix it right? (I know all you Ayn Rand fans get huge boners at the thought of the market watching over the environment)

biff
biff

 Because he's the hero that the EPA deserves, but not the one it needs right now, and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it, because he's not a hero, he's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...

Brantley Hargrove
Brantley Hargrove

 Will Armendariz take up the cape 'n' cowl and dispense some bare-fisted vigilante justice?

Darrd2010
Darrd2010

 One can only hope. Fire up the bat signal, commissioner!

Nick R.
Nick R.

As long as he does it in IMAX.

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