Johnson sworn-in as EPA Administrator

The Senate confirmed Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson to head the EPA on April 29, and he was sworn in on May 2.

The Senate voted 61-37 to override a block from Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), and then approved Johnson by voice vote to serve as EPA's next administrator.

Part of Sen. Carper's statement:

"I put a hold on the Johnson nomination for one reason -- I'm serious about getting a clean air bill done this year. I felt a hold on the Johnson nomination was the only leverage I had to compel the administration to fulfill my three-year-old request to provide me and members of the Environment and Public Works Committee detailed analyses of various clean air bills. Only the EPA can conduct the kind of good scientific analysis that we need to help us write clean air legislation.

"I've been consistently denied that request, presumably because the White House is afraid such an analysis will point out flaws in its own 'Clear Skies' proposal and acknowledge that other alternatives would be better for the environment and for public health.

"The EPA and other federal agencies have historically provided unbiased scientific information on legislation whenever Congress requested it. An information request shouldn't be a partisan issue.

"I hope that the White House will let Stephen Johnson do his job and do it well. The Bush administration hasn't had the best track record in that department, in some instances stifling the previous two administrators -- both friends of mine, Christie Whitman and Mike Leavitt. I hope that will change, and that we all can work together to write a bipartisan clean air bill this year."

Johnson released this message to employees on May 2:

"This morning, I was sworn in as the 11th Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. I am humbled and honored that President Bush has entrusted me with the leadership of this great Agency.

"During EPA's 35 years, our experiences have taught us what works, as well as what can be done better to improve our environment and protect public health. We have learned that sound scientific research and analysis are the foundation for our work and the genesis of our future successes. In order to advance the credibility of our actions, I will continue to promote transparency as a key to successful decision-making.

"To face the new challenges of national and global concern, I will encourage EPA to fully integrate innovation, flexibility and collaboration at the local, state, national, and international levels. The United States has proven to the world that environmental success and economic growth can go hand-in-hand, and I will further this progress in EPA's actions.

"I know that our mission cannot be realized without your continued commitment and dedication. I am grateful for each of you and the work you do to leave the next generation with a safer, healthier environment in which to live, work, and play."

This article originally appeared in the 05/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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