When Eco-Thugs Knock

Larry Keller had no idea the Environmental Protection Agency employed agents fortified with deadly force until two such men showed up at his home, unannounced, to "question" him.

Keller runs a computer consulting business from his Asheville, North Carolina home.  On April 27 he sent an email to the EPA in an attempt to reach Al Armendariz, the EPA regional administrator who, two days earlier, had been caught in a gone-viral YouTube video boasting about his desire to "crucify" Big Oil executives. After watching the video, Keller told the Carolina Journal, he was troubled by the comments and wanted to express his concerns to Armendariz, a public official whose salary is paid by taxpayers. "I wanted to know why someone in his position would say what he did. I wanted to question his reasoning and principles. It's all about freedom of speech," said Keller.

In an effort to locate Armendariz's email address, Larry Kelly contacted David Gray, an EPA director of external affairs and sent the following brief email:

"Hello Mr. Gray. Do you have Mr. Armendariz's contact information so we can say hello? Regards, Larry Keller."

Following the uproar generated by the video, Armendariz resigned April 30. On the afternoon of May 2, two EPA agents, accompanied by a six-foot-six armed police officer, knocked on Kelly's door.  According to Kelly, the agents "presented very official looking badges and asked if we could sit and chat awhile. We moved to the back porch and took our seats with the exception of the armed officer who stood by the door to the house the entire time."

Keller was asked by EPA agent Michael Woods if he had sent an email to an EPA employee. Initially Keller answered "No," but soon recalled the email to Gray. Woods then produced a copy of the email and asked if it was the email Keller sent.  Keller answered, "Yes."

According to Keller, the second agent said Keller's email was very "suspicious" and could be interpreted in "many different ways."

Keller asked the agent to be specific, saying he didn't have anything to hide.  He also pointed out that the email clearly revealed all of his contact information.  Irritated, Keller told the agents "they have bigger fish to fry" than drive across the entire state to follow up on an unthreatening email.  He also reminded them he is a taxpayer who helps provide their salaries.

Keller heard his wife arriving and asked the agents to remain so she could meet them and "see what all the fuss was about."  Immediately the agents announced they had to depart.  Keller asked for their business cards, but they claimed they had none.  Keller insisted they give him the name of their supervisor in Atlanta, and Woods wrote the name and number on a piece of paper. The agents promptly left without acknowledging his wife.

After the meeting with the agents, Keller made several attempts to reach the supervisor, Michael Hill.  Finally, Hill returned Keller's phone call and explained that orders had come from the Obama administration to check out every communication with Armendariz. Hill gave Keller the impression that everyone who had tried to reach Armendariz had received a visit from special agents.

Larry Keller is a patriot, who responded to a pompous EPA eco-thug. For that he was threatened with intimidating representatives sent at the behest of Lisa Jackson, administrator of Environmental Protection Agency.  The EPA under Jackson has become Stalinist.

Recall, the EPA was originally established in 1970 via an executive order produced by President Richard Nixon entitled, "Reorganization Plan Number Three." The action was meant to be an olive branch to the hippy movement as a sign that Nixon's administration was going to be serious about fighting air pollution. The move was one of Nixon's worst.

During the past four decades the EPA has morphed into bureaucracy that directly employs 12,000 people, and sucks up a budget of nearly $10 billion annually. Its goals have nothing to do with clean air or clean water--instead the EPA is on a regulatory conquest to vanquish personal property rights, diminish capitalism, alter consumption patterns, and recast the American lifestyle.

Keller calls the incident a "life changing experience."

I call it, Eco-Tyranny.

Brian Sussman is the author of Eco-Tyranny and Climategate.  He also hosts the morning program on KSFO radio in San Francisco.