Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Al Armendariz, resigned on Monday, amid Republican protests over 2-year-old comments in which he said the agency should “crucify” polluters as a deterrent.
Al Armendariz, who had led the EPA office based in Dallas since 2009, sent a letter of resignation to agency Administrator Lisa Jackson yesterday. Jackson said she accepted the resignation.
“I have come to the conclusion that my continued service will distract you and the agency from its important work,” Armendariz wrote in the letter, which was obtained by the AP.
Al Armendariz, a chemical engineer who never shied from the activist label, told EPA chief Lisa P. Jackson in a resignation letter that he regretted his words and did not want to be a distraction to the federal agency.
Sam Coleman, a career EPA official and Armendariz’s deputy, will lead the regional office for Texas and four adjacent states in the interim.
Tension between Obama and U.S. energy producers has increased in the past year, as he delayed an oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. Gulf Coast and pushed to end tax breaks for the industry. The American Petroleum Institute has paid for commercials to oppose Obama’s tax proposals.