Al Armendariz, the former EPA Region Six administrator who resigned after controversy erupted over remarks he made about EPA enforcement, will join the Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign, according to a statement released by the Sierra Club this afternoon.
Armendariz oversaw the EPA in Texas during a tense era in the state’s relationship with the federal agency. He became a lighting rod for criticism from state industry, while attracting kudos from environmentalists for going after polluters in Texas.
His opponents found a powerful weapon against him when a video was unearthed of him equating his strategies for enforcing environmental regulations to the tactics of the ancient roman empire.
Armendariz resigned, he said, to save the EPA from controversy stemming from those remarks.
Armendariz’s move will likely be seen by his opponents as proof he was always an environmental activist in the role of state regulator. The Sierra Club, for its part, has hired a staff member with high-level experience in the Federal Agency. It’s an acquisition that should serve the group well as it continues its push against coal power.
The move might not come as a surprise to those who have been reading the tea leaves since Armendariz departure from the EPA. He recently skipped out on a House subcommittee hearing where he likely would have faced less-than-friendly questioning from conservative lawmakers.
Instead of going to the hearing, Armendariz went to Sierra Club’s Washington Headquarters.
You can read the Sierra Club’s statement on their new hire below:
Sierra Club Welcomes Dr. Al Armendariz to Beyond Coal Campaign
DALLAS – Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator Dr. Alfredo “Al” Armendariz will join the staff of the Sierra Club effective in mid-July as Senior Campaign Representative for the organization’s Beyond Coal campaign. Based in Austin, Dr. Armendariz will draw on his scientific expertise working on air, water, and climate science to help move Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas off coal-fired electricity and toward an economy powered by job-generating clean energy sources such as wind and the sun.
“This is an exciting day for clean energy and public health supporters in Texas,” said Bruce Nilles, Senior Campaign Director for Beyond Coal campaign. “Al has worked closely with the Sierra Club for many years, as an environmental scientist and professor. He understands the critical importance of developing clean energy to create jobs, protect people and protect air and water.”
Before becoming Regional Administrator for the EPA, Dr. Armendariz spent eight years as a professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He has previously worked as a chemical engineer with Radian Corporation in North Carolina. Throughout his career, Dr. Armendariz has spent countless hours volunteering to help protect America’s air, water, treasured landscapes and public health through various environmental groups and he worked to teach the next generation of environmental leaders through the Volunteer Center of North Texas.
“As a third generation Texan, I’m proud to be taking on this new role to help protect Texas,” said Dr. Armendariz. “As a father and a scientist, I know how important it is to transition to cleaner sources of energy that don’t pollute the air that our children breathe, and I’m proud to be working on a campaign with a proven track record for success.”