Al Armendariz, this region’s former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, will speak at a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing this week in Washington, D.C. The group is looking into the EPA’s enforcement policy under Armendariz.
Armendariz had become a hero to local environmentalists who felt he wasn’t afraid to stand up to natural gas drillers and other industries that have long enjoyed a soft touch from regulators.
However, he resigned on April 29 amid criticisms of remarks made in 2010, when he used a “crucifixion” analogy to describe his enforcement strategy with drillers.
U.S. Rep Joe Barton of Texas was among Armendariz’ biggest critics, and he’ll be at the hearing as well. He’s on the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which is holding the hearing.
Barton, however, has his own share of critics, such as Jim Schermbeck of Downwinders at Risk. That group is establishing the website IMANARMENDARIZ.com to support the embattled former EPA administrator.
The site won’t be up until tomorrow or possible on Wednesday, Schermbeck said.
“[Armendariz] plans on maybe dropping a bombshell, but I have no idea what that is,” Schermbeck said. “He thought it might need some web exposure.”
Schermbeck said the website name originated from a quote delivered by a Republican senator upon hearing that Armendariz had resigned: “It’s not just Armendariz. There are lots of other Armendarizes around,” said Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma.
“To prove how right the senator is, we’re collecting pictures from citizens who are proudly willing to stand behind a sign that says ‘I am an Armendariz’ — that they too are for prosecuting environmental criminals instead of coddling them, and support Al as he faces another round of needless harassment in order to advance the House’s radical anti-EPA agenda,” Schermbeck said. “We’ll put these ‘I am an Armendariz’ pics up online at the new website. If you want to contribute, please send your pics to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
While the web site is being prepared, Schermbeck said supporters can visit the I’m An Armendariz Facebook page.