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The Rape of the EPA: Bush Appointee Steven Johnson Called to Task

Reality BaseBy Melissa LafskyDecember 11, 2008 12:24 AM


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Mashing scientific evidence into a pulpy soup of agenda-laden misinformation seems to be a common theme for the modern GOP. The latest (and arguably most egregious) example is outgoing EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, whose reign has been dominated by a poverty of factual information, with hard science routinely twisted to suit political designs. In a scathing profile in the Philadelphia Enquirer (via ThinkProgress), writers John Shiffman and John Sullivan delve into the cult of mediocrity that dominated Johnson's time at the agency. The piece is filled with forehead-slappers like the following:

Perhaps one of the best insights into Johnson's vision for EPA can be found in written testimony he submitted to a Senate committee this year. In the document, Johnson laid out his top 11 goals. No. 1 was clean energy, particularly approving drilling for "thousands of new oil and gas wells" on tribal and federal lands. No. 2 was homeland security. Environmental enforcement and sound science ranked ninth and 10th.

And that's not even the worst of it:

Johnson approved pesticide testing on human subjects, lowered the monetary value of a human life by $1 million, reduced air pollution reporting requirements for corporate farms, and altered a chemical risk-assessment program that has slowed analysis to a crawl.

To top it all off, Johnson is described as using the following reasoning against his critics:

He believes in the Bush agenda and, like his boss, said his resolve is fueled by his deep Christian beliefs. It is a faith he developed early in life. Johnson's strongest association outside the EPA is his relationship with his alma mater, Taylor University, one of the nation's oldest evangelical colleges... Johnson majored in biology. At Taylor, that includes discussion of creationism.

When asked to articulate his view on the creationism/science debate, Johnson responded with the following:

It's not a clean-cut division. If you have studied at all creationism vs. evolution, there’s theistic or God-controlled evolution and there’s variations on all those themes.

Sure, there are variations. Unfortunately, none of them are grounded in actual fact. But then, neither are Johnson's policies. Related: RB: Is Bobby Kennedy Really the “Anti-Science” Choice for EPA Head? RB: Global Warming Denial in the Senate: The Latest Chapter RB: Rant of the Day: Hitchens Slams Palin on Science

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