POLITICS

EPA official who wanted to ‘crucify’ oil companies praised EPA nominee for help in ‘shaming states’

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Al Armendariz, the Environmental Protection Agency official who said regulators should “crucify” a few oil and gas companies as a warning to the industry, praised Gina McCarthy for proposing air rules that were “icing on the cake” for agency effort to “sham[e] the states” into greener policies.

Armendariz made the comments in a 2012 email to other colleagues released by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., who is raising questions about McCarthy, Obama’s nominee to run the EPA.

“We have set things in motion, including empowering and shaming the states, to clean up the oil/gas sector,” Armendariz wrote (emphasis added by lawmakers).  “Further progress is inevitable. I am extremely proud of the work that we have done collectively.  Gina’s new air rules will soon be the icing on the cake, on an issue I worked on years before my current job.”

Vitter regards the email as a threat to McCarthy’s nomination. “It appears there’s a collective strategy at the EPA to punish energy producers, but also an effort towards ‘shaming the states,’” Vitter said. “The EPA’s nominee, Gina McCarthy, created a rule that was apparently the ‘icing on the cake,’ to this shocking strategy. If she wants to become the Administrator, an immediate and fully transparent response to this is absolutely necessary.”

Armendariz wrote the email on March 30th, 2012, less than a month before he resigned over his description about his “philosophy of enforcement” as a regional administrator.

“I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement,” Armendariz said during a meeting in 2010 (the video surfaced in April of 2012. “It’s kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years.”

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