by Chana Cox
The EPA, the Romans, and the Rule of Law
EPA regional official Al Armendariz, speaking at a May 10, 2010 meeting in Dish, Texas, explained the EPA’s enforcement procedure against the oil and gas industry by likening it to the enforcement philosophy of the Roman empire. According to Armendariz, the Romans would walk into a newly conquered town, “find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them. And that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
The reference to crucifixion as a way of controlling the oil and gas industry was so overwhelmingly offensive that commentators tended to overlook what this comparison says about the rule of law in America today.
Note that not even by implication were the first five guys the Romans saw guilty of an infringement of any law or even of any behavior which might have offended their Roman masters. The purpose was not to enforce the law, but to terrorize the town.
And so we come to understand why the EPA introduces new “laws” on an ad hoc basis to stop oil and gas projects. That’s the point, isn’t it? The purpose is not to enforce a law, but to terrorize the oil and gas industry and thus prevent that industry and industries like the timber, agricultural, and resource extraction industries inOregonfrom doing anything at all. Those same “laws” are seldom enforced against the government favored green industries.
Is this the rule of law, or is this a soft-core form of bureaucratic state sponsored terrorism?