Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

After Skipping Hearing, Armendariz Went to Sierra Club

Photo courtesy of EPA

Al Armendariz was the regional administrator for the EPA. He resigned after comments he made about enforcement came to light.

Earlier this week, Al Aremendariz was back in the news. The former Region 6 administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been scheduled to appear at a House subcommittee hearing on the EPA, but canceled at the last minute. Texas regulators and other energy industry figures spent much of the hearing blasting him and the EPA anyway.

Armendariz resigned from the EPA in April after comments he made two years earlier came to light, where he talked about his philosophy of enforcement: making a big example of lawbreakers. But his language was coarse. “It was kinda like how the Romans used to conquer those villages in the Mediterranean,” he said in the video. “They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw, and they’d crucify them. And you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.” Within days of that video becoming public, Armendariz resigned.

So where was he instead of attending the hearing on Wednesday? According to Amy Harder in the National Journal, Armendariz went to the Sierra Club.

Harder says that it isn’t clear why Aremndariz skipped his testimony Wednesday:

“But it is clear that he was in Washington that day and met with someone—at the Sierra Club, the nation’s largest environmental organization.

On Wednesday afternoon, when a reporter visited the Sierra Club’s Washington headquarters just a few blocks from Capitol Hill, Armendariz’s name was written on the sign-in sheet as having been the last person to visit the office. The visit apparently came only a few hours after Armendariz had infuriated Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee when he canceled his scheduled testimony on EPA enforcement issues without offering a reason.”

Naturally, Republicans on the subcommittee don’t appreciate the snub. In a statement to National Journal, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee Fred Upton said that “the fact that Dr. Armendariz was just blocks away and still refused to testify at our hearing raises even more questions, If he had time on his schedule to meet with the Sierra Club, it is even less clear why he was unable to fulfill his prior commitment to testify.” You can read more over at the National Journal.

Previously: Looking at EPA Enforcement, Beyond the Rhetoric


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