War on Fossil Fuels Continues; 'Crucify' Comment Wasn't Just Poor Choice of Words, but Obama Policy

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Byline: Charles T. Drevna, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The April 30 resignation of Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Al Armendariz after he was caught telling the truth - that he wants to crucify companies he claims don't comply with environmental laws - will do nothing to slow the Obama administration's senseless war on fossil fuels. Mr. Armendariz, the top EPA official for Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, said in a 2010 videotaped speech, which attracted notice only a few days ago, that he once told his staff about his philosophy of enforcement by using what he called a crude analogy.

It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean, Mr. Armendariz said in the video. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they'd crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.

Mr. Armendariz said, You make examples out of people who are, in this case, not complying with the law .. and you hit them as hard as you can to act as a deterrent to others

Those are certainly inflammatory words, and it's understandable that Mr. Armendariz resigned after his 2-year-old comments drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. Even EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said Mr. Armendariz's belated apology was warranted and that his comments were disappointing.

But the most important issue that the Armendariz speech raises shouldn't be his poor choice of words. It should be the Obama administration's poor choice of policies supporting a war on fossil fuels that is hurting American consumers, America's workers, America's economy and America's national security.

Mr. Armendariz accurately and candidly described the EPA's war on fossil fuels. He had to backpedal after his remarks were broadcast, but President Obama and the EPA aren't backpedaling on the policies that Mr. Armendariz carried out and defended.

The anti-fossil-fuels policies of the Obama administration demonize the proven, reliable and efficient petroleum fuels and petrochemicals that keep America moving and make modern life possible. The extraction of oil and natural gas and the manufacture of fuels and petrochemicals support more than 9 million American jobs, generate more than $31 billion a year in federal taxes and protect national security.

Unfortunately, Mr. Obama has pursued a policy of overregulation that brings little or no environmental benefit and continually tries to raise energy taxes on oil and refined petroleum products, natural gas and coal to increase the costs of fossil fuels. …