Friends of the Earth Demands Resignation of EPA Administrator
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Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Stephen Johnson’s failed tenure includes repeated rejections of EPA scientists’ advice, continuing inaction on global warming a full year after groundbreaking Supreme Court decision
WASHINGTON, D.C.—On the one-year anniversary of a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to address global warming, Friends of the Earth today called on EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to resign. The group said Johnson has mismanaged the agency in a way that has been flatly inconsistent with its mission and has put the planet’s future at risk.
In a letter sent to Johnson, Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder wrote, “You have repeatedly demonstrated that you are incapable of providing the environmental stewardship that is required to successfully lead the agency you head. We call on you to resign.”
Friends of the Earth based its decision to call for Johnson’s resignation on repeated failures of leadership that include:
• Delaying the Bush administration’s response to a Supreme Court holding in Mass v. EPA that greenhouse gas emissions are pollutants; today is the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling, but just last week Johnson detailed a lengthy process that makes any action during the remainder of the Bush administration unlikely
• Rejecting California’s request for a waiver that would allow it to limit global warming pollution from vehicles; this decision was at odds with the recommendation of EPA career experts and prevents the implementation of laws passed in more than a dozen states
• Setting ozone pollution limits at unhealthy levels, rejecting the recommendations of EPA scientists after a last-minute political intervention by President Bush
• Failing to respond promptly to petitions filed by environmental groups calling on the EPA to regulate global warming pollution from ships and aircraft
• Issuing a misguided wetlands ruling Tuesday that encourages developers who build in wetlands to purchase credits rather than restoring or improving nearby wetlands
“Johnson repeatedly goes out of his way to disregard the opinions of EPA scientists and staff, making decisions with logic that is inconsistent, contradictory and paradoxical,” Blackwelder said. “His decisions have recklessly endangered the planet. Instead of acting on behalf of the public interest, he has catered to corporate polluters and special interests. As the journal Nature has editorialized, Johnson is ‘sabotaging’ the EPA ‘with reckless disregard for law, science or the agency’s own rules.’ It is time for Johnson to go.”
Johnson’s decision-making has been widely criticized during his tenure, most notably by his own employees. In a February 25 letter from their labor unions, EPA staff accused Johnson of repeatedly ignoring the EPA’s Principles of Scientific Integrity. This has raised concerns about a potential exodus of career EPA employees if Johnson remains in office.
Friends of the Earth was one of the first groups to call for the resignation of Reagan administration Interior Secretary James Watt in the 1980s and led the fight that resulted in his eventual ouster.
Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) is the U.S. voice of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 70 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has been at the forefront of high-profile efforts to create a more healthy, just world.