The congressman who apologized to BP in 2010 for the Obama administration’s vociferous criticism of the oil giant responded to the resignation of an EPA official by noting no one should advocate crucifixion “of any kind.”
Al Armendariz, who was warned just days ago that he’d be hauled in front of the Energy and Commerce Committee to testify about his controversial remarks, resigned today.
In a 2010 video posted by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Armendariz said his approach to dealing with noncompliant oil and gas companies, shared with his staff, is “like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean, they’d go into little villages in Turkish towns and they’d find the first five guys they saw and crucify them.”
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), former chairman of the energy committee, had sharp words for the EPA official who oversaw his home state region.
“Now that Dr. Armendariz has resigned, I hope that the leadership of the EPA will revert to enforcing the environmental laws and stop pushing a left of center environmental political agenda,” Barton said.
“Dr. Armendariz’s comments were inappropriate,” he added. “No one in federal public service should be advocating ‘crucifixion’ of any kind.”
Barton drew fire from both sides of the aisle two years ago for accusing the White House of a “$20 billion shakedown” of BP after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. At a House hearing, Barton told BP’s CEO, “I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize.”
Barton added today that Texas air quality is improving thanks to public- and private-sector cooperation.
“I believe that to have a strong economy, we have to have a strong environment and vice versa,” he said. “I hope the new Region 6 Administrator shares this belief so that we can work together to continue Texas’ progress in both areas.”