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Senate Dems call for resignation of EPA's Johnson

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martyd | Jul 31, 2008 10:05 AM

Back in 2005, the Senate withheld its confirmation of Stephen Johnson as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency when he refused to cancel the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, which proposed using human subjects to examine the effects of pesticides on children from infancy to age 3. When he agreed to cancel the study, the Senate confirmed him.

In February of this year, four labor unions representing the EPA's professional staff claimed in an open letter that Johnson had ignored the agency's principles of scientific integrity regarding pesticide regulation, water fluoridation, mercury emissions and greenhouse gases. In May, Johnson was grilled by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about allowing the Bush administration to override the EPA's own experts and block 17 states' efforts to mandate better fuel efficiency to reduce greenhouse gases.

Now four senator have called for his resignation, accusing him of siding with polluters, undermining the EPA's legal and scientific integrity, bending to political influence from the White House, and lying to Congress.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island said Johnson's behavior "not only degrades his once-great agency, it drives the dagger of dishonesty deep in the very vitals of American democracy."

Senator Barbara Boxer of California said she has "lost all confidence" in Johnson's ability to carry out the mission of the EPA.

The senators also asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to launch an investigation into whether Johnson lied in his testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Johnson's history with EPA has been clouded with mistrust, as this Writers on the Range piece by Robert Redford and Auden Schendler shows. See Laura Paskus' HCN article about new Bush appointees after the 2004 election for more information.

Before coming to the EPA, Johnson worked for Hazelton Laboratories Corporation and Litton Bionetics.



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