Last week it came to light that EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz had made a video several years ago detailing how he enforced various environmental statutes in his district. Mr. Armendariz stated that EPA’s practice was to select individuals for particularly harsh treatment, to make examples out of them, so that other members of the regulated community would be cowed into submission. Mr. Armendariz compared his enforcement style to the Roman practice of randomly crucifying members of a newly conquered village. Mr. Armendariz’s “crucifixion” comments caused a media storm, and over the weekend he submitted his resignation to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
I don’t think it at all implausible that EPA’s decision to throw Armendariz under the bus is in part related to the Sackett decision and the bad press the agency has received. Moreover, it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who works with government agencies that these agencies like to make examples of individuals because the agencies don’t have the resources to enforce the laws against every potential violator. Let’s hope that the Sackett decision will continue to have a liberty-fomenting effect on EPA.