July 30, 2008

Four Senators Seek EPA Chief’s Ouster

Four U.S. Senate Democrats are seeking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head Stephen Johnson's resignation, saying he misled Congress.

The four senators also said they want U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether Johnson made false statement to Congress. Mukasey's office said Tuesday it was reviewing the request, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The Democrats -- Barbara Boxer of California, chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey -- said also Johnson bowed to pressure from the White House to avoid regulating greenhouse gases. They aired their comments Tuesday during a Senate floor session.

In an increasingly bitter battle between congressional Democrats and U.S. President George Bush's administration on climate change policy, the Democrats have latched onto information that Johnson overrode opinions of EPA scientists and reversed two of his own decisions at the administration's request, the Chronicle said.

EPA spokesman Jonathan Shradar called the Democrats' action a political attack.

Administrator Johnson's record is one of aggressive, health protective environmental standards, Shradar said. Senator Boxer's record is one of press conferences and political tirades.