Controversial EPA Administrator Al Armendariz has resigned his post as Administrator of Region 6, which includes Texas, after Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) called for an investigation of the EPA’s actions related to oil and gas exploration. Armendariz was previously a professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Prior to his appointment by the Obama administration he published a highly criticized study of air quality in the DFW area that found that oil and gas exploration in the Barnett Shale is a significant contributor to air pollution in that region. Since his appointment Armendariz has been a lightening rod for the exploration industry’s criticism of the EPA.
In his remarks on the Senate floor, Senator Inhofe highlighted a talk given by Armendariz that was captured on video and recently posted to YouTube, in which he says that, because of the limited number of staff in his office, his approach is to act like the Romans: “They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”. Inhofe also wrote a letter (Inhofe letter 04-26-12.pdf) to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, highly critical of Armendariz’s actions.
Armendariz was also responsible for the “emergency order” issued by his office against Range Resources for allegedly contaminating groundwater in Parker County — an allegation since disproven. Recently, EPA voluntarily dismissed its suit seeking to enforce the emergency order, after the Texas Railroad Commission found that Range was not responsible for the methane in the contaminated water well.