EPA Region 6 covers, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and 65 Tribes.
Attached is a letter in support of Dr. Armendariz for EPA Region 6 Administrator from environmental groups in Texas. It’s intended to go to every Democratic member of the Texas congressional delegation.
Some of you know Al and have worked with him over the last couple of years or so. To those of you that don’t know him, I and many others can vouch that he’s the most sincere environmentalist being touted for this job. He’s donated many hours of his own time over the years to helping us. Also attached is his resume for your examination.
Those of you that were doing environmental work in Texas in the 1990’s will have special cause to support Al’s candidacy. It looks as though another frontrunner for the job is John Hall, the first Chairman of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission – the predecessor of TCEQ.
Speaking personally, appointing Hall to the RA position would be wasting the opportunity to make some real progress at the federal level in Region 6. Hall continually catered to industry during his tenure at TNRCC (they didn’t call it “Train Wreck” for nothing), and when he left public service he immediately took a job lobbying for industry. That is old politics and anathema to what the Obama Administration is supposed to represent.
As far as I know, all the other candidates for the job also have worked or lobbied for industry as well. Al is the only one that doesn’t have a high-powered position in private life thanks to his public service.
Time is of the essence in getting this letter circulated and signed onto. If your organization is interested in trying to get a real environmentalist as EPA Administrator, then please let me know you want to a co-signer ASAP. I’m giving this a week to get out and about – the deadline for response is May 29th – next Friday. If I missed some groups with this e-mail, please forward this along to them.
If you have any questions, please feel free to call or write me in the meantime. Thanks.
Downwinders At Risk
Hon. May 29th, 2009
2351 Rayburn House Office Bldg.
Washington, D.C. 20515
We’re writing you concerning the appointment of a new regional Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency. As you know, former Administrator Richard Greene resigned on January 20th and the position is still unfilled.
With the new administration, there is a great deal of hope and potential for environmental progress over the next four years. President Obama has done an admirable job of selecting dedicated and knowledgeable personnel to fill the Agency’s top positions in Washington. We would like to see that trend extended to the Region Six office in Dallas.
That’s why all of our groups are asking that you support Dr. Alfredo Juan “Al” Armendariz for Regional Administrator. Dr. Armendariz is an engineer who already has extensive experience with the myriad of environmental problems facing Texas and the rest of Region Six (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma). He’s shown his dedication to solving these problems by volunteering his time to write ground-breaking reports, testify before city councils, county commissioners courts and the Texas state legislature, as well as acting as a successful mediator between citizens’ groups and industry in environmental controversies. We know of no one else being considered for the Regional Administrator’s position that has the record of public service that Dr. Armendariz has accumulated over the years.
Dr. Armendariz would also bring a refreshing change to the Regional Administrator’s office. He would be the first Hispanic to ever occupy the position in a region that hosts a significant percentage of the nation’s Hispanic population. He would be the first engineer to hold a job that demands understanding of complex environmental phenomenon, as well as advanced technologies. He would be the first academic to serve as Regional Administrator, instead of a lawyer or politician. He’s the father of two young children and lives in Dallas, so he has a very personal stake in choosing the best strategies to ensure clean air and water for future generations.
Accompanying this letter is Dr. Armendariz’ resume. We think you’ll find it impressive. He’s a third generation Texan from El Paso. He graduated from MIT with a degree in chemical engineering and earned his PhD at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s published countless professional research papers. He’s worked on projects ranging from urban air quality, pollution control technology for cars and industry, to cement kilns, to natural gas, to underground storage tanks, to pulp and paper mills, to climate change – all areas of concern to Region Six communities. In short, Dr. Armendariz is one of the most qualified persons to ever be considered for the job of EPA Region Six Administrator.
His personal story is as compelling as his professional vita and a great example of the American Dream. Born in El Paso in the shadow of the Asarco lead smelter, he is the grandson of Mexican immigrants. The second of four children, his father is a mechanical engineer and his mother is a public school teacher in EPISD. He was the first in his family to leave home to earn a PhD. Dr. Armendariz is a local echo of President Obama’s own triumphant story, and the kind of new face that the President is looking for to lead the country in a new direction.
Last November the American people voted for change. They rejected business as usual, such as putting lobbyists for the industries being regulated in charge of enforcing the regulations. Dr. Armendariz has worked for industry, and understands the perspective of those being regulated. But he’s never lobbied on behalf of industry. For us, that’s an important difference. We hope that it is for you as well. We have no fear that he will serve with one eye toward exiting through the “revolving door,” trading government service for a seven-figure salary to lobby for one of the industries he was in charge of regulating. Dr. Armendariz is change we can really believe in.
We hope you will carefully examine his qualifications and experience and conclude, as we have, that Dr. Armendariz is the best choice for EPA Region Six Administrator. We urge you to meet with him personally and support his nomination. Thank you for your consideration.