Another front has opened in the battle between Texas officials and the Environmental Protection Agency. Comments have surfaced from Al Armendariz, the top official in the EPA's Region 6 (which includes Texas), who likened the way Romans tamed Turkish towns to the way the EPA could carry out enforcement actions.
"It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean," Armendariz said, in comments from 2010. "They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them. Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years."
The idea, he said, was to "find people who are not complying with the law, you hit them as hard as you can."
Armendariz has apologized for the comments, calling them a "poor choice of words." But it is another high-profile blunder for Region 6, which in March announced that it was withdrawing a case filed against Range Resources, a gas driller, which the EPA had accused of contaminating water wells in Parker County.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed lawsuits against the EPA trying to stop a number of its air-pollution rules from going to effect.