The Obama administration’s top environmental official in the oil-rich South and Southwest region has resigned after Republicans targeted him over remarks made two years ago when he used the word “crucify” to describe his approach to enforcement.

In a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson sent Sunday, Al Armendariz says he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

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