A top administrator in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has apologized for using the word "crucify" when describing the agency's enforcement tactics.
The apology comes as Sen. James Inhofe is investigating the EPA's recent investigation into a case against Range Resources, a Texas drilling company.
The Oklahoma Republican said he's concerned that the EPA overstepped its authority.
"To my knowledge, such federal action to preempt the state's oil and gas regulatory body was unprecedented," he wrote in a letter to the EPA.
He questioned EPA warnings to the public, such as a statement that two "houses could explode."
Inhofe showed video on the Senate floor of a 2010 speech by EPA Administrator Al Armendariz in which he stated that his philosophy is to make examples of energy companies who aren't following the law.
In the video, Armendariz said he believes in following the example of the Romans by "crucifying" those companies and making examples of them.
"It was kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into a little Turkish town somewhere, they'd find the first five guys they saw, and they'd crucify them," Armendariz says. "And then you know that town was really easy to manage for the next few years."
Inhofe suggested Armendariz's words were representative of the Obama administration's mindset.
"Against the backdrop of recent events, and Administrator Armendariz's admission that (the) EPA is out to crucify natural gas companies, it's clear that EPA did not base these three studies on sound science or engage in the proper scientific process," Inhofe charged.
"The agency has been using questionable authorities while usurping the rightful regulatory authority of states," he said.