NRDC Statement on Today's Nomination of Steve Johnson to Head Enviro Agency

WASHINGTON (March 4, 2005) -- NRDC Advocacy Director Gregory Wetstone made the following statement in response to President Bush's nomination today of Steve Johnson as the new Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

"We sincerely hope for opportunities to work with Steve Johnson to safeguard America's air, water and public health from pollution.

"Our experience with his predecessors, however, proved that it's not the man who matters in this job, so much as the mission set by the White House.

"The fact is, neither Governor Christie Todd Whitman nor Governor Mike Leavitt were primary forces behind the Bush administration's unprecedented assault on our landmark environmental protections, and their replacement likely is not the solution.

"Mr. Johnson, if confirmed, will face many challenges due to the president's new budget proposal, which slashes environmental funding by more than 10 percent. The White House reduces EPA's budget by 5.6 percent, with some of the deepest cuts to programs that safeguard clean water.

"At a time when the new EPA head must contend with a budget shortfall that could cripple federal clean water programs, the agency is also considering a new policy to allow inadequately treated sewage to be dumped in America's waterways.

"We look to the confirmation hearings on Mr. Johnson's nomination to lead the EPA as a chance for Congress and the American people to demand a more responsible environmental policy."

For a state-by-state breakdown of the impacts of President Bush's clean water funding cuts, click here. For details on EPA's sewage dumping policy, click here.