Looks like Stephen L. Johnson, GWB's nominee for head of the EPA, ran into a few hagglers in his confirmation hearings yesterday. Actually, he ran into Barbara Boxer (D-California) and Jim Jeffords (I-Vermont) among others who questioned him on specific points around his 24-year tenure within the EPA. It wasn't so much the disturbing government pesticide program that Boxer uncovered, or Jeffords' warning "not to become a rubber stamp for the administration," but it was rather his response to a probing question from Thomas Carper (D-Deleware). After promising the Environment and Public Works Committee (currently chaired by my favorite flat-earth member James Inhofe) that he would only make decisions on the "best available scientific information," Carper asked him why the agency provided the committee with detailed analyses of the administration's pollution-reduction bill, known as Clear Skies, but not two competing bills. Whoops. Carper had no real comment.
What the public didn't know was that there were 3 bills competing for the eyes of congress and only 1, the one favored by EPA, was backed up with a full analysis. Regardless, Johnson is a weak candidate for EPA head, a man who will continually put business and the bottom line ahead of the environment and the health of our biosphere. It doesn't help that he has no background in biology, ecology, sustainability or any other of the vital pieces needed to run the EPA in this day and age.