Robert Knight

What do Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico have in common?

They comprise the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region VI. They also constitute the core of America’s energy production, especially oil.

Thus, they needed to be taught a lesson. And who better for that than Alfredo J. Armendariz, the EPA’s administrator for Region VI, who served as an expert witness for environmental groups before joining the EPA in November 2009?

Mr. Armendariz is no longer with the EPA. He resigned on April 30 for committing the sin of clarity. He was a little too honest in conveying the Obama Administration’s way of doing business.

In a videotaped speech he made in Dish, Texas in May, 2010, and which was posted on the website of Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-OK), he answered a question this way:

“I was in a meeting once, and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said. It was kind of like how 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….So, that is our general philosophy….”

Indeed, in slightly less colorful language, Steven Chu, who is now Energy Secretary, told the Wall Street Journal in September 2008 that he hoped Americans would pay as much for a gallon of gas as Europeans do. At the time, gas was more than $8 a gallon in Europe. The Obama Administration has been doing its manful best to get there, with a gallon rising from $1.78 in 2008 to around $4 a gallon now – halfway there!

Holding a few regulatory crucifixions would be a nifty way to discourage oil drilling and thereby jack up the price of gas even more. Then we could all be forced into Chevy Volts or rickshaws.

But it could take a long time. Democrats insisted in 2010 that more drilling wouldn’t help for at least 10 years. If that’s so, it’s kind of funny watching Mr. Obama pretend in his campaign speeches that his administration has increased the current supply of domestic oil. If it takes a decade to affect supply, well, you do the math.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.