"It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they'd crucify them. And then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years."
That's how Al Armendariz described his approach to his job as Region 6 administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, and perhaps, the general approach of the entire EPA.
In his analogy, "Romans" signified him and his fellow regulators, "town" referred to the energy industry, and "five guys" represented individual companies in that field.
In other words, the EPA should set out to crucify a set of energy companies to pacify the industry.
West Virginia has been a special target of this hostile attitude.
The federal government seems to have declared war on coal. In the process, they've declared war on us -– for, without the coal industry, there would be no West Virginia.
As sickly as our state's economy is now, imagine what it would look like if all the mines and processing plants were shuttered.
That could happen someday, if we don't fight back.
The EPA is regulating us to death. Complying with arbitrary and capricious environmental standards has cost millions already, but the standards keep getting more and more unreasonable and harder and harder to comply with.
We're already one of the poorest states in the union. How poor must we become before we rise up against this oppression?
The recent uproar over his disturbing remarks, made in 2010, prompted Armendariz to resign this past Sunday. Outraged public figures across the country now are calling for the resignation of his boss, EPA head Lisa Jackson.
We add our voices to that growing chorus, and we encourage West Virginians who love our state and want to see it prosper to clamor for Jackson's termination.