It hasn’t been a good week for the Environmental Protection Agency, and today’s Washington Post editorial page didn’t make it any better.
On Monday, EPA Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz resigned after video emerged in which he likened the agency’s “philosophy of enforcement” to Roman crucifixions. Today, The Post took up the issue of the EPA’s zealous enforcement overreach and slammed the agency for “earning a reputation for abuse.” On Armendariz’s “Roman” Remarks, The Post opined:
The most reasonable interpretation is also among the most disturbing — that Mr. Armendariz preferred to exact harsh punishments on an arbitrary number of firms to scare others into cooperating. This sort of talk isn’t merely unjust and threatening to investors in energy projects. It hurts the EPA…
Maintaining the legitimacy of the EPA’s broad regulatory authorities requires the agency to use its powers fairly and, in so doing, avoid the impression that its enforcement is capricious or unduly severe. Mr. Armendariz’s comments violated the latter principle.