Al’s Eulogy: Poor Analogy, Basic Strategy

Louisiana and Texas Lawmakers quickly piled on the EPA last week, when Senator James Inhofe sought to take down the agency. Specifically, they were going after Dr. Al Armendariz, the former Regional Administrator of region 6 of the EPA, after a video surfaced of Dr. Armendariz discussing his enforcement strategy. Using a regrettable analogy, Dr. Armendariz likend the EPA to the Romans, crucifying the first corporations found breaking the law, to send a clear message and ensure better compliance from the sector.While in the video Dr. Armendariz admits it’s a crude analogy, I would argue that he was spot on, as lawmakers inthis region (AR, NM, LA, OK, TX) tend to treat the oil & gas industry as the supreme economic entity, and do all in their power to give the industry what it wants.It’s unfortunate to see such overheated rhetoric pointed at the agency which helps protect the air, water and wetlands we all rely upon. At the core of Dr. Armendariz’s remarks was a desire to make sure the oil & gas industry follows the law. The 2 year memorial of the BP disaster was just over a week ago, and apparently some members of the Gulf’s delegation have already forgotten what it can look like when the oil industry breaks our environmental laws.The White House failed to offer any support for the underlying principle of working diligently to increase industry compliance with environmental laws, and Dr. Armendariz has since resigned, sending a clear message to the lawmakers in support of corporate law breakers that they’ve found a winning strategy.Meanwhile, the oil industry continues to drill, spill, and laugh all the way to the bank.Aaron Viles is GRN’s Deputy Director. You can follow him on twitter here.

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