EPA official resigns after enforcement philosophy causes furor

EPA_armendarizA top Environmental Protection Agency official resigned Monday after comments that the agency should make examples of polluters the way Romans crucified people to quash rebellions caused a furor.

In an internal memo to EPA employees, Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said Alfredo Juan “Al” Armendariz had “offered his resignation” as regional administrator for the agency’s South Central region.

“I have accepted Dr. Armendariz’s resignation and respect the fact that he came to this difficult decision because he did not want to distract from our agency’s critical work,” Jackson wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by the Post.

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On Friday, Jackson had distanced herself from comments Armendariz made to a Texas community two years ago, calling them a “poor choice of words.” But she stopped short of saying he would resign and declined to say whether he faced disciplinary action.

Congressional Republicans had demanded that Armendariz be fired after Oklahoma Republican Sen. James M. Inhofe’s staff discovered a YouTube video of the official’s comments in Dish, Texas, and posted a clip on the senator’s Web site. An environmental activist, he joined the Obama administration as a…

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