Crucifying oil and gas and tank trucks
May 1, 2012 12:00 PM, By Charles E Wilson
WHILE it was never any real secret, comments by a now former Environmental Protection Agency official made it clear that the Obama Administration is waging a relentless war to destroy America's oil and gas industry. We need to keep in mind that the tank truck industry also is being targeted in this assault.
The anti-oil and gas sector comments in question only recently came to light but were made about two years ago by Al Armendariz, who at the time was EPA administrator of District 6, the five-state region that includes Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. During a community meeting in Texas that was videotaped, he stated that his was to essentially “crucify” some oil industry companies as examples to make the rest of the industry compliant.
Armendariz described how soldiers in the Roman Empire would use crucifiction when conquering villages around the Mediterranean region. “They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw and they'd crucify them,” he said. “And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not complying with the law. Find people who are not complying with the law and you hit them as hard as you can and make example of them.”
Only recently posted on the Internet, the video ignited a firestorm in Congress. Sen James Inhofe (R-OK) cited the Armendariz speech as proof that the EPA is waging a brutal assault on the oil and gas sector, specifically the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technique that is unlocking vast new supplies of oil and natural gas.
Sen Inhofe said it was clear that the EPA under the Obama Administration has used intimidation to try to shut down the oil and gas industry. Companies were attacked even though they were complying with the law. Texas-based exploration company Range Resources, one of the early users of hydraulic fracturing in the Marcellus shale, was among those singled out by EPA.
Reportedly conducting rigged tests with flaming water purporting to the environmental threat posed by hydraulic fracturing, EPA officials hounded Range Resources with threats of punitive fines and other punishments. The company fought back, and a federal court finally intervened. The EPA very quietly withdrew its complaint, according to Sen Inhofe.
This was the sort of punitive action and intimidation that Armendariz was proudly describing on the “crucify” videotape. Caught by surprise, the Obama Administration threw him under the bus, but the attack on the energy sector and the companies that are part of it is continuing.
President Obama and the members of his administration still see Big Oil as the enemy that must be beaten into submission. The crusade for higher taxes on the oil companies continues, and the federal bureaucracies continue to crank out more punitive regulations.
The attack includes blocking the Keystone XL pipeline project on the basis of insignificant environmental risk even though gasoline and diesel prices have skyrocketed in recent months. This pipeline would bring 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the United States and would create tens of thousands of very real and very well-paying jobs.
At every turn, the Obama Administration has made it harder for companies to explore and extract domestic energy sources. Huge tracts of federally owned lands have been placed off limits for oil and gas drilling and production. The Administration continues to block new permits for offshore energy exploration and production.
The attack on Big Oil has spilled over to include the companies that support the oil and gas sector, including the tank truck industry. One has to wonder — in the light of the Armendariz comments — if the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Administration's drive to ban wetlines on primarily petroleum tankers has become part of the attack on Big Oil. Afterall, the proposed rule is based on the flimsiest justification and would cost the industry tens of millions of dollars to implement with little or no safety benefit.
We have so much oil and natural gas available domestically and from Canada that we could truly achieve independence from overseas petroleum sources. We need to do all we can to put a halt to the Obama Administration policies that would “crucify” the US oil and gas sector and leave the United States at the mercy of oil producers in the Mideast.
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