Senate confirms Johnson as EPA administrator

The Senate confirmed Stephen Johnson today to be Environmental Protection Agency administrator, the first EPA administrator with a science background.

Johnson served as deputy administrator prior to becoming acting administrator in January. He replaced Michael Leavitt, who left in January to become secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

His confirmation hit snags early in the process. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved Johnson's nomination only after he pulled plans for a study that would use children to study the effects of pesticides in Jacksonville, Fla. Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) had also blocked a vote on his nomination because he said EPA had ignored his requests for three years for an analysis of how President Bush's proposals to reduce air pollution compared with those proposed by Carper and other lawmakers.

Upon confirmation, Johnson said he was honored and humbled to lead the agency where he has been a career employee for 25 years. 'We have made great strides in cleaning the air, water and land. The success of EPA is inseparable from the productivity and creativity of the agency's professional staff and I look forward to our work ahead,' he said.

Johnson has received numerous awards and commendations, including the Presidential Rank Award in 2001 for distinguished executives for sustained extraordinary accomplishments, the highest award that can be given to a civilian federal employee.

He received a B.A. in biology from Taylor University in Upland, Ind., and a Master of Science in pathology from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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