EPA Official's Hollow Apology For 'Crucify' Comment Won't Stop Investigation, Sen. Inhofe Says

By Craig Bannister | April 26, 2012 | 11:27am EDT

The EPA official who said his agency’s “philosophy” is to “crucify” oil and gas companies apologized for his comments on Wednesday night. But, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), who exposed the comments, says the apology falls far short.

“I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words,” Region 6 EPA Administrator Al Armendariz said yesterday:

“It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation’s environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws.”

Sen. Inhofe, who has launched an investigation into the EPA’s “crucify” philosophy, said today that Administrator Armendariz apologized for his words, but not for EPA's actions:

"Administrator Armendariz apologized yesterday for his 'poor choice of words' when he admitted that EPA's 'general philosophy' is to 'crucify' and 'make examples' of oil and gas companies, but he did not apologize for EPA's actions towards its apparent crucifixion victims.

“The Damage Is Already Done”

"Remember not long after Administrator Armendariz made this stunning admission, EPA targeted natural gas producers in Pennsylvania, Texas and Wyoming, making headline-grabbing allegations that American energy producers were causing water contamination; but in each case, their comments were contrived, and despite their determination, they were unable to find any definitive evidence to back up their alarmist claims.  When EPA's investigations did not turn out the way they had hoped, the agency quietly released several late-night statements admitting they were wrong, but by then, the damage was already done.”

“This Is An All-Out War On Affordable Energy”

"This is not just an attack on a few American energy companies: this is an all-out war on affordable energy - an effort to stop domestic development of coal, oil and natural gas.  What most Americans don't realize is that the recent energy boom in this country - which has spurred job creation, new government revenues, increased energy security, and revitalized manufacturing - would not be possible without hydraulic fracturing. With an election on the horizon, President Obama is pretending to be a friend of oil and natural gas, claiming he's for an 'all-of-the-above' approach, but Administrator Armendariz's comments reveal the true story: while President Obama has photo ops in front of pipelines in Oklahoma, his EPA is working aggressively to 'crucify' oil and gas producers so they can end hydraulic fracturing, knowing full well that if you stop hydraulic fracturing, you kill domestic oil and gas production.

“Nothing Has Changed”

"Take the word 'crucify' out of Administrator Armendariz's statement and nothing has changed: you still have a rogue agency following through on President Obama's 'general philosophy' to increase the price of gas and electricity - intimidating and levying huge fines on citizens and industry without sufficient justification or affording them due process.”

Sen. Inhofe’s Investigation Presses Forward

“If EPA is truly serious about this apology, the agency will fully comply with my investigation and they can begin by quickly and thoroughly answering all the questions I asked in the letter that I sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday.  I look forward to hearing from them very soon and will continue to monitor their actions closely."

R6 Regional Administrator Al Armendariz's Statement of Apology:

"I apologize to those I have offended and regret my poor choice of words. It was an offensive and inaccurate way to portray our efforts to address potential violations of our nation's environmental laws. I am and have always been committed to fair and vigorous enforcement of those laws."

Statement by Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Cynthia Giles:

"Strong, fair and effective enforcement of the environmental laws passed by Congress is critical to protecting public health and ensuring that all companies, regardless of industry, are playing by the same rules. Enforcement is essential to the effectiveness of our environmental laws, ensuring that public health is protected and that companies that play by the rules are not at a disadvantage. The same holds true for companies involved in responsible and safe development of our nation's domestic energy resources."

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