Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Four Democratic senators called yesterday for Stephen L. Johnson to resign as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and they asked Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to investigate whether Johnson lied in testimony to a Senate committee.
The senators, all members of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said Johnson -- the first career scientist to head up the agency -- had repeatedly succumbed to political pressure on decisions vital to protecting health and the environment.
The senators also allege in the letter to Mukasey that Johnson made false statements before the committee in January when he said that he alone had decided California should not regulate the gases blamed for global warming from motor vehicles.
A former top EPA official told the committee this month that Johnson initially had decided to grant a partial waiver to the state but changed his mind under pressure from the White House.
"We have lost all confidence in Stephen Johnson's ability to carry out EPA's mission under the law," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the environment committee, told reporters. She was joined in signing the letter by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Frank Lautenberg (N.J.).
Jonathan Shradar, Johnson's press secretary, said the administrator will "continue to lead this agency undistracted by the Boxer and Whitehouse show."