My last post featured editorial kudos for the EPA’s evenhanded approach to regulation of one aspect of drilling: handling of methane and volatile organic compounds during fracking. Perhaps the accolades were premature. I speak of the recently exposed and widely distributed video of the then-new and recently-resigned EPA Region 6 director Al Armendariz invoking an inappropriate analogy to his “philosphy” of regulating oil and gas producers. If you haven’ t seen it yet, you are too late. You Tube removed the video from its web site.
Mr. Armendariz said: “The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them.”
To be fair, earlier in the video he referred to enforcement against producers who break the law. He could have been referring to the scofflaws as the only candidates for immediate crucifixion. Unfortunately, that’s not what he said.
Mr. Armendariz apologized and resigned, and the White House declared the comments to be “entirely inaccurate as a characterizaton of the work the EPA does”. Whether or not you believe that, it raises questions about the agenda behind recent EPA enforcement actions.
We now know who the wolf is, and we now know that it comes disguised in the sheep’s clothing of a seemingly reasonable regulation (assuming that a 588-page regulation is reasonable, but that is for another day). We should expect that regardless of the winner, after the next election there will be big changes in the EPA’s approach to the energy industry. If the status quo remains, the wolf will throw off its sheep’s disguise and the crucifixions will resume.
The current EPA:
The real EPA, to be revealed in November should the status quo remain: