We received this statement yesterday from Dish Mayor Bill Sciscoe, who was there when Dr. Al Armendariz explained to Dish residents how enforcement efforts could help them — comments made in a public meeting two years ago that triggered Armendariz’s resignation as the head of Region 6 for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Living the Dream in Bhopal, USA.
The attempted Congressional Inquiry of Dr. Al Armendariz, former Regional Administrator of the EPA, will show any other EPA Regional Administrators what happens to anyone trying to enforce any regulations for clean air or clean water. Anyone would have to think twice about the plight of Dr. Armendariz, YouTubed out of context, forced to resign and the attempted keel hauling by members of Congress for doing his job, will surely be considered by other Regional Administrators before they take any action, in the future. They will think, “Isn’t it better to just sit quietly behind this administrator’s desk and collect that big government paycheck? No need to take any enforcement actions against any anyone, at this time, or to step outside my office and meet the public in any way.”
This is not my favorite piece of Congressional work. I would advise Congressional Republicans to drop this action against Dr. Armendariz before the truth of the matter comes to light. He was speaking to a town hall stacked full of Republicans. And not one was offended. In fact we were very honored by his presents and appreciate every word he spoke. When he walks into Dish Town hall again, he will be greeted with a standing ovation, adorned with our admiration and respect and treated as a Hero.
Contrast this with the reception given to Dr. Susana Hilebrand, P.E., Director, Air Quality Division, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. She received a grilling and a shellacking from the citizens and Town Council of Dish, Texas. She professed after over 100 years of oil and gas production in the State of Texas, and as the Director of Air Quality TCEQ, she had no knowledge that natural gas being released into the atmosphere by the industry was laced with benzene, dioxin, carcinogens and neurotoxins, until the Dish Town Council released it’s air study test results to the public.
Who needs the over regulating EPA? And a tough talking, line walking Regional Administrator like Dr. Al Armendariz? Certainly not us! A guy like that is bad for business. We can trust corporate America without the EPA’s oversight.
Union Carbide poison gas leak, Bhopal, India December 2-3, 1984, over 3,000 people dead, over 400,000 people scared and disabled for life. But that could never happen here, right? Union Carbide, an American company, run by Americans in Bhopal, India. There was no EPA over there. If they would only have had an effective government agency like our EPA and guy like Dr. Armendariz in charge, it might have been different for them.
But now we have torpedoed our EPA, by chopping off the head of the one guy that said, “I’m gonna deal strongly with polluters. And the safety of our citizens is a top priority! ” I’m pretty sure that statement should only offend polluters, Right?
If you think a Union Carbide – Bhopal, India like disaster cannot happen here in the USA, at the very least your naive, at the worst your a dangerous fool. Safety is no accident. We must be vigilant. We must hold our brothers and sisters responsible and accountable, for their actions. Our EPA has done much of this oversight for us.
The oil & gas industry has all of the freedom they need to perform their job. These private companies in fact exercise the use of ‘eminent domain’ and other tools to plow over the property rights of citizens, under the ruse of being a public utility, which they are not. Under President George Bush they exempted themselves from the Clean Water Act, this is called the Dick Cheney loophole. This should scare any sane person.
We now have urban drilling for natural gas in large cities and small towns in this country. That’s urban, inner city drilling in neighborhoods. High pressure gas pipelines running through neighborhoods, around schools and hospitals. Think about this carefully. These wells, pipelines and pop off valves are spewing natural gas, laced with benzene, dioxin, carcinogens and neurotoxins into the air of our cities and towns.
April 20, 2010 BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, 11 people dead, 17 injured, countless lawsuits, billions of dollars in damages.
September 9, 2010 San Bruno, California pipeline explosion disaster, 8 people dead, scores of people injured, 38 houses destroyed, over 70 lawsuits.
We have seen water wells in our town contaminated by hydraulic fracturing from these gas wells. Think about my City Planner preparing dinner for her family and bathing her small children with that water prior to having it tested, and discovering its contents!
The job of the EPA is to ensure the state agencies are maintaining the standard. If the state agencies are unwilling to maintain the standards or fail to do so, the EPA is charged with the responsibility to step in. Clearly, Dr. Armendariz was responding to requests from citizens. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas RailRoad Commission are clearly not in control of anything. They have failed to protect the the citizens of this state and place the interest of the corporations they are paid to police, above the health, safety, well being and rights of our citizens.
Let’s get the record straight. I’m a republican. I’m a Christian. I’m a proud taxpayer. I’m the proud father of five hard working citizens, two of them are U.S. Marines. And I’m part of the oil & gas industry, third generation! I’m the Mayor of a small town. I’m responsible for the health, safety, well being and rights of my citizens. I’m the guardian of their property rights and property values.
This country was founded on a system of checks and balances. We must hear both sides of each argument, carefully weigh the ramifications and consequences of our actions and the actions of others. Then make sound decisions and policies based on the best interest for the future of our society.
I’m not a union guy, but I appreciate the fact that that it was the unions that stopped corporations and companies from grinding our hard laboring citizens and their children into hamburger meat to make a buck. And showing America and the world, that industry can make a good honest profit, while providing a safe, productive and profitable work place for all. I believe there is a model here for oil and gas industry.
I’m not a wacko liberal or radical environmentalist, but I appreciate their point of view. And we need these people to provide their input from their point of view, for our careful consideration, for our final decisions to have just balance. There must be the ying and the yang. I have classified myself as a far right wing fundamentalist, but I like to think I am reasonable.
Let’s face the facts. Not all operators in the oil and gas industry are equal when it comes to best practices. If you are one of the operators that are spending the money to achieve the highest levels of safety for your people, the environment, trying your best to do what is right and trying to be a good neighbor in urban and rural operating areas, don’t you want someone with a some standards, ensuring other less diligent operators meet at least some minimum standard of safety, so your entire industry is not painted with a broad brush as polluters?
Dr. Armendariz was not bad for business! The EPA is not bad for business! A Union Carbide – Bhopal, India like disaster, is bad for business!