Sen. James Inhofe (R., Okla.) announced an investigation into the Environmental Protection Agency on the floor of the Senate Wednesday in light of a recently discovered video of an EPA administrator describing how the EPA occasionally "crucifies" oil and natural gas companies.
The video shows a 2010 speech by Obama-appointed EPA Administrator Al Armendariz. Armendariz compares the EPA’s enforcement strategy against oil and natural gas companies to that of the Roman Empire.
"I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement," Armendariz said during a meeting in 2010. "It's kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: They’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them and then, you know, that town was really easy to manage over the next few years."
Inhofe announced he would be launching an investigation through the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works into the EPA’s actions against natural gas producers in Parker County, Texas, Pavilion, Wyoming, and Dimock, Pennsylvania.
"Against the backdrop of recent events, and Administrator Armendariz’s admission that EPA is out to crucify natural gas companies, it’s clear that EPA did not base these three studies on sound science or engage in the proper scientific process," Inhofe said on the Senate floor Wednesday. "The agency has been using questionable authorities while usurping the rightful regulatory authority of states. EPA clearly went through with these investigations based on preconceived conclusions with the explicit goal of tying potential environmental harms to hydraulic fracturing."
Inhofe also sent a 16-question letter Wednesday to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson requesting information on the agency’s actions against a natural gas producer in Parker County, Texas. The EPA issued an emergency order against the Range Resources drilling company for methane contamination in water wells, but it reversed that decision 15 months later.