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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
March 4, 2005

President Nominates Steve Johnson as EPA Administrator
The Roosevelt Room

President's Remarks

8:45 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. I am pleased to announce my nomination of Stephen Johnson to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Steve Johnson is a talented scientist and skilled manager with a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship. He has 24 years of experience at the EPA, spanning all four decades of the agency's history. Since late January, he has served as Acting Administrator. He knows the EPA from the ground up, and has a passion for its mission -- to protect the health of our citizens, and to guarantee the quality of our air, water, and land for generations to come. I've come to know Steve as an innovative problem-solver with good judgment and complete integrity. I'm proud to ask him to become the first career EPA employee to hold the office of Administrator, and I'm glad he's agreed to do so.

When confirmed by the Senate, Steve will also become the first professional scientist to lead the EPA. He will use that background to set clear, rational standards for environmental quality, and to place sound scientific analysis at the heart of all major decisions. Steve shares my conviction that we can improve the Earth while maintaining a vibrant and competitive economy. He will work cooperatively with leaders in government, industry, and environmental advocacy to continue using our resources wisely. He will listen to those living closest to the land, because they know our environmental needs best.

For the last four years, Steve has served at the side of EPA Administrators Mike Leavitt and Christie Todd Whitman, and he shares in their record of achievement. Today, America's air and water are cleaner than in 2001. The clean diesel rule we finalized will cut emissions from heavy-duty vehicles by more than 90 percent over the next 10 years. Our brownfields initiative has helped restore more than a thousand abandoned industrial sites to productive use in their community. We've taken landmark steps toward improving water quality in one of our nation's most treasured natural resources, the Great Lakes.

All Americans are benefitting from the EPA's practical approach and emphasis on results, and Steve will build on that progress. His immediate task is to work with Congress to pass my Clear Skies Initiative. This innovative legislation will reduce power plant pollution by 70 percent, without disrupting the economy or raising electricity prices. The bill will give governors the flexibility they need to meet strict new air quality standards, improve public health, and protect vulnerable ecosystems from acid rain. Clear Skies is a common-sense, pro-environment, pro-jobs piece of legislation, and Congress needs to get it to my desk this year.

Steve will also bring valuable experience that will help us improve our homeland security. As an expert on pesticides, he helped design new regulations to improve food safety. In his new role, Steve will lead federal efforts to ensure the security of our drinking water supply. My budget includes a new program to better monitor urban water systems, so we can detect contamination as quickly as possible. EPA personnel are playing an important role in the war on terror, so my budget increases support for EPA homeland security programs by more than 70 percent this year.

As he embarks on all these duties, Steve has the trust and admiration of his longtime colleagues, the thousands of hardworking EPA employees across the country. He is also fortunate to count on the love and support of his wife, Debbie, and their children and grandchildren, who are with us here today -- and his mother- and father-in-law. (Laughter.) I ask the Senate to confirm this nomination promptly. I look forward to welcoming Steve Johnson to my Cabinet as America's 11th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Congratulations, Steve. Appreciate you.

MR. JOHNSON: Thank you. Thank you. Mr. President, thank you very much. Under your leadership, we have made great strides in environmental protection. I'm deeply honored that you are nominating me to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. If confirmed, it will be my distinct privilege to serve you and our nation to continue to advance environmental agenda while maintaining our nation's economic competitiveness.

I'd like to acknowledge the tremendous service of Secretary Leavitt -- first, as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and continuing now as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He came in as the Administrator and now remains a dear friend and respected colleague. I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank Governor Whitman for her support.

Finally, let me say, in my over 20 years of public service, I have the utmost admiration and respect for my colleagues at the Environmental Protection Agency and throughout the government. I'd like to thank and recognize those whose love and support have brought me to this day, my family.

Mr. President, thank you again for this historic opportunity and the confidence that you have placed in me.

THE PRESIDENT: Good job, Steve.

MR. JOHNSON: Sir, thank you. Thank you very much, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Smile, smile for the camera. (Laughter.)

END 8:51 A.M. EST

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