- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Opting for a career scientist after two politicians, President Bush named Acting EPA chief Stephen L. Johnson the agency's new administrator.
Johnson has been with the EPA for 24 years, most recently serving as the acting administrator since the president nominated former chief Mike Leavitt to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He also served as deputy administrator to Leavitt and acting deputy following the departure of Bush's first EPA administrator, Christine Whitman. Both of Johnson's predecessors under the Bush administration were former governors.
Johnson's background is in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances (OPPTS) and its forebear, the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), where he served in administrative roles since 1994.
As stated in his inaugural address as acting chief, the new administrator is expected to stress the “maintenance and utilization of sound science, while using collaborative, innovative approaches to solving environmental problems.”
Faced with obtaining approval in the Senate, where Democrats have been critical of Bush administration environmental policy, Johnson appears to be a popular choice among both environmentalist and industry lobbies. "His experience and temperament make him a solid choice to lead the agency at this time," said Sen. Jim Jeffords, I-Vt., of Johnson. With Jeffords and others who have been sharply critical of Bush's environmental agenda supporting the nomination, a political fight seems unlikely. The re-elected president's selection is also a departure from a recent trend toward choosing close political friends and allies for cabinet and administrative posts in his 2nd term.
Read more about Stephen L. Johnson at www.epa.govadminweb/.