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EPA nominee faces tough Senate confirmation hearing

[JURIST] Stephen Johnson [EPA profile], President Bush's pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency [official website], faced some tough questioning Wednesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee [official website]. Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the EPA and currently its Acting Administrator, took criticism from several Democratic committee members of the committee over several administrations policies, including regulations governing mercury emissions from power plants and Cheers [EPA study website], a suspended research study that offered money to families willing to allow the EPA to measure the effects of pesticides on their infants. California Democrat Barbara Boxer threatened to vote against Johnson's nomination if the Cheers program wasn't cancelled permanently. Johnson did not have the opportunity to fully address the committee's criticisms before the hearing was recessed. Watch recorded video of Wednesday's EPW committee meeting. The New York Times has more.

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