29 April 2005 19:13 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The Senate on Friday confirmed Stephen Johnson’s nomination to be Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, over the objections of a Democratic senator who had delayed a vote to protest the Bush administration’s environmental policy.?xml:namespace>
The Senate voted 61-37 to end debate and override a "hold" by Senator Thomas Carper (Democrat-Delaware). Johnson was then approved by voice vote.
An EPA employee for nearly 25 years, Johnson becomes the first professional scientist to lead the agency. He had been acting administrator since January, taking over from Michael Leavitt, now secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.
In announcing the nomination in March, Bush said Johnson he would use "sound scientific analysis" in making decisions.
Carper said he thought Johnson was well qualified to head the agency. But he said he placed a hold on the nomination because EPA had ignored his repeated requests for an analysis of how the president's Clear Skies proposal for reducing air pollution compared to alternative Democratic proposals.
Carper said he hoped his action had "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."
Johnson had earlier overcome opposition from Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California), who threatened to delay confirmation if EPA did not end a program examining the extent to which children are exposed to household pesticides.
Johnson said the program had been mischaracterised by critics, but agreed to scrap it to end the controversy.
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