Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009

Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson, a scientist with degrees in biology and pathology, was appointed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator in 2005. His scientific bona fides boded well for his stewardship of the nation's top environmental body. But during his tenure, Johnson regularly chose to defer to the White House on environmental matters. He once issued a draft report to the White House that criticized America's approach to climate change — and was told to take it back and water it down. Johnson complied. When California and 18 other states requested a waiver to restrict tailpipe emissions on new vehicles, Johnson, over the opinions of many of his own staff, rejected them. California decided to sue the Agency in Jan. 2008. The case is still in the appeal process, though the issue might be resolved by Obama's nominee for EPA Administrator, Lisa Jackson, who has said she would review the decision upon assuming her position.