- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
In 2010, EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz was speaking at a local Texas government meeting when he shared what he told his staff about the agency's "philosophy of enforcement." He said, "It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they'd crucify them and that town was really easy to manage over the next years."
Those comments raised a lot of ire and condemnation. Armendariz did apologize for his choice of words but reiterated that they would continue to vigorously enforce the regulations.
Move forward to June, 2012. EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding is speaking to a group at Yale University. During his talk, he describes that it would not be very acceptable to tell the people living in communities that are supported by the coal industry that they should shut down their towns and just go away. He further said that the EPA has put forth a very powerful message to the county that "if you want to build a coal plant you got a big problem." But by setting the laws and policy, they could discourage the use of coal and thus impact the industry.
This is nothing new. It is not the first time that an agency has sought to use regulations to manipulate industry. Actually, it has become a part of the process these days. Data is gathered and used to develop graphs and arguments. Regulations are proposed. Comments are made and the agency responds with a final rule. Then industry files lawsuits. No matter which side wins, there will be appeals up the ladder as high as they can go. In some cases, the issue may make a second path up the litigation trail. Then the agency will be ordered to rewrite at least a portion of the regulation and the process will begin again. Hence the reason it can take decades to get regulations and such things as boiler emissions or why electrical generating units are operating with such decades-old plants.
I do think that is was just too bold of these administrators to come right out and say for all to hear that they had specific agendas. Video recordings of both of these comments can be found on the Internet with a very little search effort.