AP analysis: Oil stats belie tough enforcement talk
In the three years since President Barack Obama took office, Republicans have made the Environmental Protection Agency a lightning rod for complaints that his administration has been too tough on oil and gas producers. But an Associated Press analysis of enforcement data over the past decade, released today, finds such claims don't reflect the Obama administration's record. In fact, the EPA went after producers more often in the years of Republican President George W. Bush—a former Texas oilman—than under Obama. Also, the agency's enforcement actions have declined overall since 2002 and reached their lowest point last year, the review found. Accusations of EPA overzealousness peaked in April. That's when a regional administrator resigned after a two-year-old video surfaced in which he compared enforcement of oil and gas regulations with how the Romans used to conquer villages: apprehending "the first five guys they saw and they'd crucify them." GOP critics publicized the video of Al Armendariz, who headed the region that includes Texas and other major oil- and gas-producing states, as an example of what was wrong with an agency that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney calls "completely out of control." "We have a genuine concern that his comments reflect the agency's overall enforcement philosophy," six Republican congressmen from Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma said in a joint statement the day Armendariz stepped down. Get the particulars of the AP analysis in the full story here.
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