"EPA Regional Chief an Activist"

"They huddled over Christmas cookies in a cozy conference room on a dreary December afternoon, a few Houston environmentalists chatting about policy with the Environmental Protection Agency's new regional chief.

While the two-hour meet-and-greet with Al Armendariz didn't amount to headlines, it says a great deal about the change in power at the EPA, particularly in Texas.

After nearly a decade of feeling unheard by federal regulators, the activists say they now have one of their own as the top environmental official in the nation's oil, gas and chemical capital.

And they wasted no time telling Armendariz, who was appointed to the post last month by President Barack Obama, that much is expected of him."

Matthew Tresaugue reports for the Houston Chronicle January 3, 2010.

Source: Houston Chronicle, 01/05/2010