EPA Chief Faces Unpleasent Hearing

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Associate Editor Bret Schulte reports:

The storm over global warming builds again in Washington. EPA administrator Stephen Johnson has been summoned before the Senate Environment Committee to explain the administration's failure to regulate greenhouse gases, a hearing that comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision that ruled the EPA does have the authority to take such action despite the White House's claims to the contrary.

Johnson faces an unpleasant task. Not only is committee chair Barbara Boxer a tough critic, he will be flanked by two of his predecessors--a Republican and Democrat--who believe the Bush administration is downright truculent in its opposition to a greenhouse gas regulatory scheme.

In a copy of opening statements leaked to environmental group Clean Air Watch, one of those administrators, William Reilly, who served under the first President Bush, makes this comment about the Supreme Court decision: "The law has now been settled and EPA does have the authority [to regulate greenhouse gases]. I might add that if I were EPA Administrator, I would welcome that authority."

In advance of the hearing, U.S. News interviews Boxer in this week's magazine about the complexities of moving a climate change bill through Congress.