Carper Votes to Block Johnson Nomination to Head EPA

Johnson Qualified But Wanted to Send Message to White House on Clean Air

WASHINGTON (April 28, 2005) — Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement following the Senate’s approval of Stephen Johnson to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Carper, the senior Democrat on the Senate’s clean air subcommittee, moved to block the confirmation of Johnson because the EPA for three years has denied his request for a detailed analysis of various clean air proposals before Congress. The Senate prevailed in overriding Carper’s objections on a 61-37 vote. The nomination was then approved by a voice vote. “I may have lost the vote today, but I think I sent a clear message that the White House and federal agencies have a responsibility to provide Congress with information that will help us write good, balanced legislation. I’ve said from the outset that I believe Stephen Johnson is a good man and he’s well-qualified to head the EPA. My argument hasn’t been with him. It’s been with the White House and its continued refusal to provide me with information on my clean air bill and other proposals before Congress. 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.”