One of the Environmental Protection Agency's top officials resigned yesterday.
Al Armendariz, who oversaw the oil-rich South Central Region of the U.S., was criticized heavily by Republicans because of a 2010 speech in which Armendariz — making an analogy to the ancient Romans — says his regulators should "crucify" oil companies that are not complying with the law to make an example of them and make sure other companies do follow the law and "clean up."
As our friends at StateImpact reported, Armendariz's comments came to light when his speech was released in a YouTube video last week.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Armendariz sent a letter to his friends and supporters today, saying he was not pushed to resign but that he had "become too much of a distraction."
"I leave with an incredible sense of pride for the things the Agency accomplished and it was fantastic to be a part of the effort. Administrator Jackson has overseen a renaissance in the Agency and it is again the global leader in environmental protection," he said in the letter obtained by the Morning News.
The AP reports that in his resignation letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Armendariz says "he regrets his words and stresses that they do not reflect his work as administrator of the five-state region including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana."
Here's the video that led to Armendariz's resignation: