EPA Official Resigns After Controversial Video
Texas politicians and environmental groups are reacting to the sudden resignation of the Obama administration’s top environmental official in oil-rich South Central region of the U.S. As KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, Al Armendariz quit his post after a video of him talking about Environmental Protection Agency enforcement practices surfaced online.
In the video from 2010, Armendariz equated his approach to enforcement with tactics of the ancient Romans. He spoke of “crucifying” oil and gas companies that break the law, which prompted a backlash from conservative critics of the agency. Armendariz resigned over the weekend saying he had become a distraction.
Responses to the resignation depended on the politics of those who issued them. Ken Kramer, director of The Lone Chapter of the Sierra Club, called Armendariz’ departure a major loss for Texas and a victory for polluters in the state. But Republican Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who is currently running for U.S. Senate, issued a strongly worded statement that called Armendariz a “radical henchman” of the EPA. Lisa Jackson, head of the EPA for the Obama administration, released a statement earlier today expressing gratitude to Armendariz for his service.