Acadiana Business

AP: EPA enforcement of oil industry down under Obama

by Leslie Turk

A new AP analysis finds that the EPA went after oil and gas producers more often in the years of Republican President George W. Bush than under President Obama.
For the past three years GOP critics have made the Environmental Protection Agency a lightning rod for complaints that the Obama administration has declared war on oil and gas producers, but an Associated Press analysis of enforcement data over the past decade finds just the opposite. In fact, according to the report, the EPA went after producers more often in the years of Republican President George W. Bush, a former Texas oilman, than under Obama.

The AP review also found that the agency's enforcement actions have been trending downward since 2002 and reached their lowest point in 2011. According to the story:
Accusations of EPA overzealousness peaked in April. That's when a regional administrator resigned after a two-year-old video surfaced in which he compared enforcement of oil and gas regulations with how the Romans used to conquer villages, by finding "the first five guys they saw and they'd crucify them."

GOP critics publicized the video of Al Armendariz, who headed the region that includes Texas and other major oil- and gas-producing states, as an example of what was wrong with an agency that Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney calls "completely out of control."

Actually, the U.S. produced more oil in 2010 than it has since 2003, and all forms of energy production have increased under Obama, but he can't take credit for all of it. ...

EPA critics say the problem is bigger than enforcement. They point to regulations that they say hamper oil and gas production and raise refining costs, while giving an advantage to renewable fuels.
Read the AP story here.