More drama around Stephen Johnson’s EPA confirmation

The political jousting around the confirmation of Stephen Johnson to head the U.S. EPA continues, as yet another senator has threatened to gum up the process. Just last week, Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer (Calif.) and Bill Nelson (Fla.) held the confirmation hostage, forcing Johnson to cancel a controversial research program on household pesticides and children. Now, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-Del.) is, according to a spokesperson, “keeping his options open as far as blocking the nomination.” The beef? Carper is steamed that the Bush administration has ignored his requests for studies on ways to cut power-plant pollution. “I think Stephen Johnson is qualified to head the EPA and would serve the agency well — if the White House would let him,” Carper said. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe the White House has let past administrators do their jobs effectively, and I don’t believe they’re ready to do that now.” A hold on the nomination can be imposed by any senator; it takes 60 votes to override it.