April 30, 2012, Allen, TX — “When EPA Region 6 Administrator Dr. Al Armendariz resigned today, drilling-impacted communities lost a champion in the fight to improve the fracking industry’s lamentable track record of sacrificing community health and clean water for the sake of maximizing corporate profits.
Dr. Armendariz exemplified much of what an environmental regulator should be: expert on the issues, and concerned for the public and the environment before all else — not to the exclusion of all else, but before all else. In other words, he exemplified the very reason the Environmental Protection Agency exists.
His resignation is regrettable for more than just the public’s loss of an effective regulator. It is regrettable because it may signal a premature end of what is a much-needed public conversation about what effective environmental enforcement is.
Dr. Armendariz was persecuted for using the word “crucify.” Stripped of religious phraseology, the statement for which he was forced to resign boils down to this:
If a person breaks the law, they must be punished so that other persons are deterred from breaking laws in the future.
His statement is the essence of the justification behind most criminal penalties. Especially in Texas, that argument amounts to holy writ when it comes to punishing criminal persons… except, apparently, in cases when the criminal person happens to be a corporation.”