WASHINGTON D.C. — U.S. Senator David Vitter (R-La.) released today the latest evidence gathered from an ongoing congressional investigation into improper and potentially illegal activities by senior officials at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In today’s release, Vitter provides copies of correspondence between former EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz and top agency lawyers that link the Obama administration’s current nominee, Gina McCarthy, to a seemingly coordinated strategy to punish oil and gas producers and harm the coal industry. In the email, Armendariz, who currently leads the “Beyond Coal” campaign at the Sierra Club, states that he is “extremely proud of the work that [EPA has] done collectively. Gina [McCarthy’s] new air rules will soon be the icing on the cake, on an issue I worked on years before my current job.”
Armendariz resigned EPA last year after video footage surfaced that revealed statements exposing a “crucifixion strategy” whereby the agency “made examples” out of oil and gas producers in its enforcement actions. The particular enforcement action referenced in the email thread released by Sen. Vitter today involved Texas-based Range Resources. Last year, the EPA withdrew its actions against Range Resources amid the controversy.
“Contrary to public statements made by senior administration officials — both to the press and before Congress — it appears that a coordinated strategy to punish affordable energy producers has reached the highest levels of the Environmental Protection Agency,” IER President Thomas Pyle said of today’s release.
“The Obama administration has nominated Gina McCarthy to lead the agency, which will afford another federal regulator even greater authority to execute a controversial enforcement actions against energy producers. These emails are but the icing on the cake, so to speak. The American people have a right to know how EPA’s controversial tactics are planned and implemented by Gina McCarthy and other political appointees. The Institute for Energy Research will press for answers to these and other important questions about Gina McCarthy’s record of environmental enforcement.”
Sen. Vitter was joined in his letter by fellow Senators Boozman (AR), Wicker (MS), Inhofe (OK), and Sessions (AL).
Last week, IER released copies of other emails that link Armendariz with a Hollywood producer known for his ideological opposition to hydraulic fracturing technologies. To read that release, click here.
To read Sen. Vitter’s letter to Gina McCarthy, click here.