Fox News reports that EPA’s Region 6 administrator has apologized for comparing his agency’s enforcement strategy to Roman crucifixion. Of course, the 2010 remarks by EPA’s Al Armendariz, were captured on video, which you can see here.
Despite Armendariz’s apology, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, which is in the EPA region that Armendariz administers, is investigating. Inhofe said the crucifixion comments suggest a campaign of “threats” and “intimidation.”
Certainly, one poorly chosen analogy from a single regional administrator doesn’t indict an entire agency – though it’s concerning that this fellow, with his apparent zest for enforcement, has had oversight for the energy-rich Eagle Ford and Barnett shale areas of Texas. Talk about a chilling effect.
We hope that Armendariz’s approach to regulation is atypical. Industry prides itself on working as a partner with regulators. Perhaps EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson had some of her agency’s more enthusiastic members in mind when she acknowledged (here and here) that state regulation and state regulators should take the lead when it comes to producing energy from shale with hydraulic fracturing.
The states are best situated in terms of proximity, familiarity and perhaps temperament to regulate oil and natural gas development via fracking. They know the geology, hydrology and other local/regional conditions. With cooperation from industry and with the help of organizations like STRONGER, this is oversight best performed by the states.
Let’s not overburden them and industry – threatening the obvious benefits from shale energy production – by adding unnecessary, duplicative regulatory layers, which Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead argued in a recent letter to the Interior Department.