In short, the modern American regulatory state is predatory. It is antagonistic, even contemptuous of free enterprise. Hundreds of anti-competitive prior restraints, many counterintuitive, are adopted each year atop the thousands already in place.
They form a formidable series of traps for the unwary and place those with even simple business plans and modest ambitions, who lack the resources for regulatory counsel, at a distinct risk and disadvantage when compared to established firms with their bevy of K street lawyers and risk managers.
The regulatory ambition is to intimidate, not to guide, and to obliterate, not to correct. Recently, that ugly side of agency conduct (often visible only to those who bear the brunt of it due to a media that all too often simply republishes regulatory accusations rather than uncover regulatory abuses) came to light.
In a May 2010 speech, reported upon by the Associated Press and by The Blaze, Al Armendariz, EPA’s Administrator of the South and Southwest region (including the states of Texas,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana), described his (and his department’s) enforcement philosophy. He viewed EPA enforcers as akin to conquering Romans who would enter a village and crucify a few locals to create an in terrorem effect, intimidating all others into compliance with Roman law and edicts. He said:
I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff . . . The Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they would crucify them. And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years. . . . And so you make examples out of people who are in this case not compliant with the law.
Find people who are not compliant with the law, and you hit them as hard as you can and you make examples out of them, and there is a deterrent effect there . . . . And companies that are smart see that, they don’t want to play that game, and they decide at that point that it’s time to clean up.
You can watch Armendariz delivering these remarks here.
Senator James Inhofe has identified this speech as proof of EPA’s brutal commitment to undermine the U.S. energy industry and, most particularly, to destroy industry reliance on hydraulic facturing (so-called “fracking”). The analogy to Roman conquerors that Armendariz used is particularly alarming because Roman occupation involved the exercise of summary justice, denying non-Romans due process and entitlement to presumptions of innocence that were legally required to be accorded Romans. Moreover, Armendariz appears to relish in the fact that the Romans in his story nabbed “the first five guys they saw” and scheduled them for summary execution without a hint of remorse that those taken captive were denied respect for or protection of their rights to life, liberty and property. Armendariz’s use of the word “little villages”………………
- Inhofe: EPA Apologized for “Crucify” Words Not Actions (canadafreepress.com)
- Inhofe: Armendariz’s Resignation Does Not Solve Problem of EPA’s Crucifixion Philosophy (canadafreepress.com)
- Editorial: The EPA is earning a reputation for abuse (canadafreepress.com)
- Senior EPA Official Al Armendariz Resigns over ‘Crucify’ Remarks (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Why Do Liberals Feel Compelled To Apologize For Telling The Truth? (canadafreepress.com)
- EPA official resigns over ‘crucify’ remark (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Obama-Appointed EPA Regional Chief Resigns Over ‘Crucify’ Comment (inquisitr.com)
- Al Armendariz resigns after ‘crucify’ comment (lesliebrodie.wordpress.com)
- EPA Official Resigns For Saying EPA Should ‘Crucify’ Oil Companies (npr.org)
- Green Blog: E.P.A. Official Resigns Over ‘Crucify’ Flap (green.blogs.nytimes.com)