The head of the Environmental Protection Agency's office in Dallas has resigned over comments he made in 2010 that became the focus of political condemnation last week.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said Monday that she accepted a letter of resignation from Al Armendariz.
"I respect the difficult decision he made and his wish to avoid distracting from the important work of the agency," Jackson said in a written statement.
In the letter dated Sunday, Armendariz said he regrets his comments, adding that they did not reflect on his work or the work of the EPA.
The controversy erupted last week when a video surfaced showing Armendariz saying in 2010 that his methods for dealing with non-compliant oil and gas companies were "like when the Romans conquered the villages in the Mediterranean. They'd go into little villages in Turkish towns and they'd find the first five guys they saw and crucify them."
Sen. James Inhofe's office told CNN it uncovered the video while preparing for a blistering half-hour Senate floor speech that Inhofe delivered Wednesday. In the speech, the Republican from Oklahoma criticized the Obama administration's energy policies and cited Armendariz in particular.
"His comments give us a rare glimpse into the Obama administration's true agenda," Inofe said.