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Public Statements

Flexible Permitting System Works

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. OLSON. Mr. Speaker, the people I work for, the people of Texas 22, were disrespected once again yesterday by Dr. Al Armendariz, the former Region 6 EPA Administrator, a region that includes my home State of Texas.

After losing his job a few weeks ago because he advocated using Roman tactics like crucifixion to beat down America's producers of fossil fuel energy, Dr. Armendariz finally accepted an invitation to testify today before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Late yesterday, Dr. Armendariz informed the committee that he had changed his mind. He can no longer come. He couldn't come--I don't know why he couldn't come. It wasn't weather. I checked. I flew up from Texas last night, yesterday morning, no problems. I checked Dallas-Fort Worth, nothing. Nine American Airlines flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth--where Dr. Armendariz lives--flew here yesterday into Reagan National. None of them were delayed. Why couldn't he come?

He chose not to come because he could not defend his actions to his employer, the people of Texas 22, the district I represent and the people of Region 6. He could not defend interfering with Texas's flexible permitting system to minimize the emissions from our farmers and power plants of nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide.

Texas's flexible permitting system works. Those emissions have been cut double the national average in Texas. That's why we're the fastest growing State in America. That's a great testament to how they work. You cannot grow more than any State in America, add industry, and have a reduction that doubles the national average. We did that, and yet Dr. Armendariz threw that out. He could not defend jamming Texas into the cross-state air pollution rule just this past summer. Immediately after he did that, without being notified, we should have gotten at least 1 1/2 year notification, we got a 6 month notification. Because of that, the largest power producer in my home State, which was using coal for power production, said: I'm going to have to shut down two power plants.

Reason prevailed, and that rule got kicked down the road. But again, it wasn't because what Dr. Armendariz did. He wanted to punish Texas.

And most importantly, he could not defend this email, which he leaked to radical environmental groups announcing that EPA was dropping the hammer on a producer of American fossil fuels in the Barnett shale plate. What he was concerned about was contamination of water in two wells, two houses there near this oil and gas recovery fossil plate. The problem: he was worried about water contamination. He sent this out, and I will read it to you:

Hi, everybody. We're about to make a lot of news. The first story has already been printed. There'll be an official press release in a few minutes. Also, time to TiVo Channel 8. Bug David for more info.

That was coming from the regional administrator. A couple of other points:

Thank you for helping to educate me on the public's perspective of these issues, and thank you all for your continued support and friendship.

These aren't the public. The people of Texas 22 I represent are the public. But look what he sent out. Again, he sent this out to the radical environmentalists, taking their marching orders. Here is the response from one of them:

Texas sheriff, yee haw! Hats off to new sheriff and his deputies.

Texas does not need a new sheriff and new deputies. We need a regional administrator that wants to strike a commonsense balance between a growing State and clean air and clean water.

The American people were fooled in November of 2008. With the help of Dr. Armendariz, they won't be fooled again.


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