The jumped-up suit in this video is Al Armindariz. He is the Region VI Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. His job, as he sees it, is to terrorize the energy industry so badly that producers are afraid to do their jobs.
The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. 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.
And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law. Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there. And, companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.
Now, you may think, once you read the second paragraph that his heart really is in the right place, even though he might seem just a tad aggressive. After all, we want our government to enforce its rules vigorously and to punish wrongdoers hard enough that others will be afraid to break the rules. We know what can happen when offenders get little but slaps on the wrist.
Except Armendariz has gone far above and beyond punishing evildoers. He did what he said in the first paragraph — sought out companies out of which he could make an example, whether they were guilty of anything or not. This speech happened in 2010 when, by no coincidence at all, Armandariz was busy cricifying a company called Range Resources. Here is the story, from Forbes Magazine (by way of Rush Limbaugh):
In 2010 his office targeted Range Resources, a Fort Worth-based driller that was among the first to discover the potential of the Marcellus Shale gas field of Pennsylvania — the biggest gas field in America and one of the biggest in the world. Armendariz’s office declared in an emergency order that Range’s drilling activity had contaminated groundwater in Parker County, Texas. Armendariz’s office insisted that Range’s hydraulic fracking activity had caused the pollution and ordered Range to remediate the water. The EPA’s case against Range was catnip for the environmental fracktivists who insist with religious zealotry that fracking is evil. Range insisted from the beginning that there was no substance to the allegations…
For a year and a half EPA bickered over the issue, both with Range and with the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates oil and gas drilling and did its own scientific study of Range’s wells and found no evidence that they polluted anything. In recent months a federal judge slapped the EPA, decreeing that the agency was required to actually do some scientific investigation of wells before penalizing the companies that drilled them. Finally in March the EPA withdrew its emergency order and a federal court dismissed the EPA’s case.
In other words, when oil companies discovered the Marcellus Shale, one of the largest natural gas deposits in the world that alone could supply us for at least 20 years, Armendariz found one of the first companies he saw and crucified it where all the other companies could see. He had no evidence that Range has broken any rules. Indeed, there is still no evidence at all that hydraulic fracturing — fracking — has has any negative effects on the environment at all even though crazy progressive environmental ground want to find some so badly they very notion causes them to salivate like a pack of Pavlov’s dogs inside the clock tower of Big Ben.
Armendariz later apologized for his comments, once they became a national story. The White House said “there was not an effort of the nature” his comment said there was even though there clearly was an effort to do exactly what he said.
It is clear the Obama administration does not want us to drill for more oil or natural gas. The President and his like-minded bureaucrats want us to spend hundreds of billions of our children’s dollars on technology that doesn’t work, isn’t ready for widespread use, or is so expensive that no sane consumer would spend a dime of their own cash on it. We have an abundance of energy in our reach. He has forbidden us from getting and using it for no better reason than his own stunted and immature belief that somewhere just around the corner is a shiny and happy land where everyone drives tiny fuel-efficient cars and lives in houses powered by unicorn emissions and puffy, smiling clouds that blow gentle breezes over acres of magic windmills. That’s a fine belief if you’re a five year-old child, but we adults live in the real world where we have real energy needs and limited personal and national budgets. We should make sure our government lives in that world with us.
UPDATE: YouTube pulled the original video. It was taken by an activist who appears to be most interested in environmental matters. Despite the claims on his YouTube channel that his videos are covered under a Creative Commons license which allows others to use his content with proper attribution, the activist had YouTube take down the video and removed all video involving Armendariz from his channel.
I guess he never imagined that people might take umbrage with a bureaucrat who persecutes American companies for engaging in legal and safe commerce. Progressives never think they’re wrong. That’s why we must never allow them to hold public office.
Also, see Sean Hackbarth’s post at the Free Enterprise weblog.