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E-M:/ PIRGIM hopeful Bush nominee signals change in Administration actions

------------------------------------------------------------------------- Enviro-Mich message from Jason Barbose ------------------------------------------------------------------------- For Immediate Release:        March 4, 2005
For More Information:          Jason Barbose (734) 662-6597
President Bush Nominates Stephen Johnson as EPA Administrator
PIRGIM Hopeful This Signals Change in Administration Actions

Washington, DC – This morning President Bush announced the nomination of Acting Administrator Stephen Johnson to be the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator.  Mr. Johnson is a career employee of the EPA, and has worked with the EPA for 24 years, most recently as the Deputy Administrator and the Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances (OPPTS).
“We’re hopeful that Mr. Johnson’s nomination means that the Administration will make decisions based on science and protective of public health and the environment instead of based on the bottom lines and wishes of special interests,” said PIRGIM’s Jason Barbose.  “Administrator Johnson and the Bush Administration are faced with several important decisions in the coming months that could either protect or harm the public.”
EPA is expected to reach decisions and issue final rules on several important issues, all of which could have a major impact on human health and the environment.  Decisions are pending on a number of key issues, including:
  • Mercury.   EPA will soon release a final rule regarding a Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standard for mercury from power plants.  A recent EPA Inspector General Report found that senior level officials urged staff scientists to release a rule favorable to industry that would put hundreds of thousands of children at risk of increased mercury exposure.  The EPA received a record number of public comments in favor of scrapping its proposal and issuing a rule that reduces mercury pollution from power plants by 90% by 2008.
  • Soot and Smog Pollution.  PIRGIM urges the EPA to strengthen and finalize the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR) to cap smog and soot emissions from power plants in the eastern U.S. at 1.8 million tons and 1 million tons, respectively.
  • Clean Water and Sewage Dumping.  The agency is considering a final policy to allow inadequately treated sewage to be dumped into waterways across the country.  PIRGIM urges EPA to shelve this proposal and instead focus on actions that protect public health.
  • Public Right-to-Know about Pollution.  The EPA is currently holding public rule-making regarding changes to the most successful and far reaching right-to-know program, the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI).  Each year, companies are required to report their toxic chemical releases to air, water, and land, informing the public about this impact on their health.  This summer, EPA is expected to propose changes to the program that will drastically reduce the amount of information available.  PIRGIM urges EPA to expand the amount of information available to the public, and continue with its strong support of the TRI program.    
PIRGIM is a state based non-profit, non-partisan advocacy organization.
Jason Barbose
PIRGIM Field Organizer

103 E. Liberty St., Suite 202
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
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