President Obama appointed SMU professor Al Armendariz to head up the EPA’s Region VI, to fanfare from the left, in November 2009. Prof. Armendariz’s SMU web site is…spare. From his resume linked there, we learn that at the time of his appointment he was officially a research associate professor in SMU’s Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering. His last private sector experience was in 1998, when he was a chemical engineer at Radian Corp for about three years. He appears to have no serious managerial experience prior to his EPA appointment to head Region VI. From associate professor to managing a bureaucracy that spans five states, including major oil producers Texas and Louisiana, is quite a leap.
Armendariz’s list of references on his resume is a who’s who of the loony left in Texas environmental politics.
Notice two of those names: Tom “Smitty” Smith and Jim Schermbeck. Both are well-known around Texas as left-wing, anti-business agitators. Schermbeck is the left-wing filmmaker who figured prominently in former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle’s indictment of Tom DeLay a few years ago. Schermbeck often operates as Erin Brockovich’s sidekick, running around Texas creating environmental scares and then taking those to court. He once opposed a road project in Ellis County, TX, claiming that some slag used to build the road would cause major health problems for residents living near it. After exhaustive and expensive scientific studies, it turned out that there was a problem with the slag: Prolonged exposure to it could cause body odor. So Schermbeck moved on to another project, and eventually got some industrial cement kilns shut down in Midlothian, TX, driving the price of cement up by restricting supply. He also killed a few Texas jobs along the way.