Armendariz also issued a statement apologizing after Inhofe slammed the comments on the Senate floor, and fired off a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson highlighting them.
“I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words,” Armendariz said. “It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws.”
Inhofe, though, said he’s launching an investigation. On Fox News on Thursday, the senator said the remarks are “all a part of Obama’s war on domestic energy,” particularly on a process known as hydraulic fracturing — which is used to extract oil and natural gas from rock.
Inhofe noted that the EPA, following Armendariz’ comments, went after natural gas firms in three states and tried to link hydraulic fracturing to water contamination.
“You read his whole statement, and it’s pretty revealing,” Inhofe said. “And I think when he comes out and apologizes for using the word crucify he’s still getting his message across there — intimidation, threats.”
The Obama White House also sought to distance itself from Armandariz’s comments. The White House can do all the distancing it wants, but the fact is, the EPA has behaved as a punitive imperial power under Obama. Inhofe notes its stance on fracking, and I’ll bring up how EPA handled the cross-state pollution rule last summer.
Texas was not included in the EPA’s draft rule related to sulfur dioxide cuts because EPA modeling had shown little downwind impact from Texas power plants on other states.
On Thursday, however, the EPA said Texas would be required to meet lower SO2 limits to avoid allowing the state to increase emissions.
Five states — Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, along with the District of Columbia — were dropped from the final EPA rule.
Despite the agency’s own science, Texas (red state) was added without warning, while three blue states and a swing state were dropped off. Once implemented, the rule will drive up electricity prices in the impacted states, which will drive up unemployment. The appearance here is that Texas was punished by EPA for having low unemployment and for being a GOP state that has challenged Obama’s actions on a range of issues.
Armandariz’s comments should trigger an investigation into every action the EPA has taken since Obama took office.
Update: By the way, Armendariz is the administrator for EPA’s Region VI. His territory just happens to include Texas. Texans do not take kindly to imperial wannabes.