Carper Statement on Stephen Johnson’s Nomination to Head EPA

Carper Votes “No” to Protest Refusal to Meet Information Requests on Clean Air

WASHINGTON (April 13, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement on Stephen Johnson’s nomination to head the Environmental Protection Agency. Carper was the only member of the Environment and Public Works Committee to vote against Johnson because the Bush administration has repeatedly refused to meet congressional information requests over various clean air proposals currently before Congress. “I voted against Stephen Johnson’s nomination today with much regret. I think Stephen Johnson is qualified to head the EPA and would serve the agency well – if the White House would let him. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the White House has let past administrators do their jobs effectively, and I don’t believe they’re ready to do that now. The EPA and other federal agencies have historically provided unbiased scientific information on legislation whenever Congress requested it. But for the last four years, the EPA has been constrained from providing us with unfettered and timely information about legislative and regulatory proposals, especially those having to deal with air pollution. Repeatedly, I’ve asked the EPA to conduct a detailed, technical analysis of the economic and health benefits of my clean air proposal. I’ve been consistently denied, even though what I’m asking for is simple. The EPA has run a detailed health and cost estimate of the president’s Clear Skies plan. I want the same type of analysis completed on my bill because I believe it’s essential to help us craft a clean air compromise bill this year. Last month, the committee failed to report out the president’s Clear Skies plan because Democrats and one Republican thought we could do better – not because we didn’t want to get a bill done. But in order for me to negotiate effectively on this issue — to make decisions on what the appropriate caps and timelines should be for NOx, SOx, mercury and carbon dioxide — I need to know the economic and health consequences of my own proposal to see how it measures up against the president’s plan. An information request shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Democrats will be back in the White House and in charge of Congress one day, and when we are, I’d hope we’d work with the other side to get our business done. If the administration is serious about getting clean air legislation done this year, they will fulfill my request so we can get back to the negotiating table and work out a better clean air plan for all Americans.”