Such is the plight of the EPA, who has decided that they need to protect themselves from anyone that might take issue with their showing up to cite you for exhaling too much carbon dioxide, or with their deciding that you are not meeting the latest version of their reinterpretation of the Clean Air Act, which seems to have been successfully and inadequately applied all these years. Incredibly, the intent of Congress in 1963 when they passed it seems to have been to shut down coal energy production even though there were no significant viable alternatives to this at the time. Or much since.
So if you send an email to the EPA, questioning their exuberance, such as Larry Keller, computer consultant from Ashville, North Carolina did when the head of the Environmental Protection Agency for the Southwest region, Al Armendariz, stated that he liked to go into an area and crucify folks who were not complying. His words, “It is kind of like how the Romans used to conquer villages in the Mediterranean – they’d go into a little Turkish town somewhere and they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them. Then that little town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”
Probably didn’t help that he looked like the know-it-all nerdy kid in high school with a chesire grin in his publicity stills.
Republicans, in particular Senator James Inhofe, Republican Oklahoma, called attention to the 2010 videotape, asserting that it showed that the Presbo’s agenda was to restrict oil and gas development through zealous enforcement of environmental laws.
Even though Al Amerendariz resigned before he could get called in front of a Senate committee, the EPA decided that they needed to show Mr. Keller that his displeasure, and his silly idea that the EPA worked for us, was not going to be tolerated, especially since he may have been talking to that nasty Tea Party. So they showed up at Mr. Keller’s home 2 days after the resignation. They asked if they could chat with him but declined to state the reason for the visit until he had already invited them onto his porch. They also neglected to provide any id although they said they had business cards and later said they were out.
The email the Mr Keller sent, where he questioned Dr. Al Armendariz’s reasoning and asked about the principles behind his public statements, was lumped in with all of the threats that were received after his comments were brought to the attention of the public. The agents’ supervisor in Atlanta, Michael Hill, told him that orders had come from Washington to investigate every communication with Al Armendariz, which apparently was not true. He denied that it had anything to do with Mr Keller’s business, data visualization and analysis, which was obvious from the link on his email and detailed in his website. Also denied that there was any connection to his activity in GOP politics, which doesn’t seem like a good rationale to send armed agents out to interview people. The agents were particularly questioning his consulting and the nature of his business, which seems to be irrelevant about whether Mr. Keller was an actual physical threat.
Mr. Hill later sent an email apologizing for the incident but declined to provide any information on EPA policies and procedures that lead to the screening and said that Mr. Keller would have to file a Freedom of Information inquiry for that. Can’t have just anybody getting ahold of those pesky policies and procedures and it might be necessary to redact some of that lest national security be compromised or something.
No official written report has been filed or released by either the EPA or the Ashville police who accompanied the agents. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has not responded to his near daily inquiries. His emails to her were apparently forwarded to Patrick Sullivan, assistant inspector general, office of investigations organization, who emailed him and said that the EPA agents acted with accord with federal law and if he had any issues, he should take it up with Craig Ulmer, who supervises field operations for the office of investigations.
Mr. Keller also contacted his state Senators and his state Representative. Only the Senator who happened to be a Republican has responded, but they are investigating. The other Senator and Representative may be too busy. No connection, of course to his being a constituent with GOP leanings.
Bored? Fire off an email taking issue with a federal policy. Helps particularly if you direct it toward someone who has admitted to tyrannical policies or borderline corruption. Entertaining people will show up with weapons. Good for weeks of emails and media attention.