EPA official Al Armendariz, resigned recently, or more likely followed suggestions, to leave his post as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regional Administrator for Region VI. Seems like Mr. Armendariz had become a poster child for overzealous acts on the part of the Agency. He made no secret of his desire to punish businesses in the oil and gas sector. Brings new light to the “I am from the government and here to help you” motto.
Seems like he had an interesting philosophy on enforcement of environmental laws. In remarks, Mr. Armendariz painted a picture of Roman conquerors pacifying villages by “find[ing] the first five guys they saw and . . crucif[ying] them.”. An analogy of crucifixion is usually never a good idea. Mr. Armendariz suggested the most effective approach to enforcement is to “make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law.”
The official would have been better to read up on the old Roman practice of decimation. A unit selected for punishment was divided into groups of ten; each group drew lots, and the soldier on whom the lot fell was executed by his nine comrades. Every other 10th or “deca”. The leadership was usually executed independently of the one in ten deaths of the rank and file. Now, Mr. Armendariz has been decimated.
I do not know the background of this gentleman. He is a political appointee. After this episode was exposed, he became toxic and it did not take long for the Administration to rebuke him and makes sure he got dumped on the side of the road. He deserves it. He exemplified the worse attitude and conduct of EPA, whose missions seems to want to put the last U.S. employee out of work, no matter the cost, no matter the amount of benefit accrued. We could after all go back to the Stone Age and really save the environment.
I talk to business people all the time. At the top of their list of government overreach, overregulation or using unjustified extraordinary means is the EPA. It is not taxes, health care, or financial markets. It is the cost of doing business, the cost of regulations that makes them non-competitive. I tell my liberal friends these stories but they scoff by saying the business is always whining about regulation. True enough. However, there is a difference between reasonable, authorized and sensible regulation and those written and enforced by zealots carrying crosses to use on it foes.