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Better World Club's Federal Bureaucrat of the Year: EPA Chief Stephen L. Johnson

Continues to Block States’ Decision to Set Higher Emissions Standards...And To Refuse to Tell Congress Why

He Whites Out EPA Docs Given To Congress

Hmm...Do You Prefer "White Out" or "Redacted"?

As we’ve been reporting since 2002, California has been trying to strengthen regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from light trucks and passenger vehicles. The proposed limits would have phased in gradually, resulting in a 30% cut in new vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions by 2016. Sixteen other states joined California and adopted the same standards.

After five years of stalling, EPA Administrator Stephan L. Johnson has finally deigned to respond to the states' waiver request with a "NO" in December of 2007.

Since then, all hell has broken loose. The states and several environmental groups are suing the EPA, and Congress has subpoenaed the agency demanding documents showing why they denied the waiver request.

The EPA has provided Congress with some documentation, though much of what was provided was whited out and heavily edited. Johnson cited several reasons for not fully complying with the congressional subpoenas, noting that some of the documents could jeopardize the agency's fight against multiple lawsuits, some of the documents could confuse the public, the "chilling effect" that would result from disclosing internal deliberations "in a broad setting", and our personal favorite: "Executive Privilege" (aka "Because I don’t want to").

The EPA's staff reportedly unanimously recommended approving California's waiver. However, Johnson - a Bush appointee and former executive in the drug development and animal testing industries - overruled his staff and personally nixed the waiver request.

Now Johnson is trying to stonewall Congress as to the real reasons why the waiver was denied. We urge you to Drive Change and contact EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and let him know that he needs to come clean and tell the American people why he denied California's waiver by fully complying with congressional requests for documents.

Quite a track record. For all of his hard work, Stephen L. Johnson is Better World Club's Federal Bureaucrat of 2007. Perhaps the petition above is a proper reward.

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