Times: EPA sought to shame states over oil and gas production

By   /   March 12, 2013  /   No Comments

DRILL BABY, DRILL: A drill rig sits just outside of Williston, North Dakota.

BAD STATES: One EPA official says he has shamed states into cleaning up the oil and gas sector.

By Dustin Hurst | Watchdog.org

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho –A report released Tuesday afternoon details how one official at the Environmental Protection Agency sought to shame states over oil and gas developments.

The Washington Times reveals how former EPA Region 6 chief Al Armendariz proudly discusses with other agency officials how he’s proud of his efforts to compel states to “clean up” the oil and gas sector.

Here’s the scoop from the Times:

In a letter to Ms. McCarthy on Tuesday, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana and four Republican colleagues asked her to explain her connections to Al Armendariz, who resigned last year as EPA’s Region 6 administrator after saying he wanted to “crucify” oil and gas companies he believed were violating the law.

Mr. Vitter also released some of Mr. Armendariz’s emails, obtained in a broader investigation of EPA emails, and released several portions Tuesday showing Mr. Armendariz was pleased with new rules and restrictions EPA was pursuing on power generation.

“We have set things in motion, including empowering and shaming the states, to clean up the oil/gas sector,” Mr. Armendariz said in the email. “Further progress is inevitable. I am extremely proud of the work that we have done collectively. Gina’s new air rules will soon be the icing on the cake, on an issue I worked on years before my current job.”

The “Gina” referred to is apparently Ms. McCarthy, the new EPA administrator nominee.

The revelation will only add to the suspicion some feel toward the EPA.

The report may also add new insight into the case of Alaska’s not-yet-proposedPebble Mine. In a remote and desolate portion of  Alaska, a mining company has spent years conducting environmental research in preparation for proposing a massive gold and copper mine. Ahead of the permitting process, the EPA conducted a first-of-its-kind environmental assessment of the area where the miners might dig for minerals.

The study came back resoundingly negative, though peer reviewers skewered the document for a lack of purpose and failure to adhere to scientific standards. Read about the unusual move on the EPA’s part here. 

Contact: [email protected] or @DustinHurst via Twitter.