Religious Bigotry from Clean Air Watch

By January 7, 2008General

Astonishing attack in TomPaine.com against the faith of Steve Johnson, EPA administrator, by Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch. Even the title of the article is offensive: “EPA’s Holy Roller.”

The thrust of the argument is that Steve Johnson, as a Bible-believing Christian, is a hypocrite for rejecting California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s request for a waiver, so California can regulate vehicle emissions for greenhouse gases, and then lying about the reasons for that policy decision. But look at what O’Donnell describes as lies.

Among other lies, Johnson claimed approving California’s request would create a “confusing patchwork of state rules” (No, this is just auto industry propaganda. There would only be one standard that other states could adopt. So many had either done so or contemplating adoption, that it could have become a de facto national standard.). Johnson claimed that the standard would save less gasoline than the new fuel economy standards in the energy bill. (Another lie. The car companies opposed the California standards because they would require them to do more.) And the EPA chief gushed over his “world-class professional staff” at the same time that he froze them out of the decision-making process.

These aren’t lies. They’re arguments, examples of Johnson making a case. And the EPA staff weren’t “frozen out,” they were listened to in the process of making a regulatory decision. Johnson reached another conclusion.

Still, OK, fine, just typical rhetoric from the untethered environmental movement.

But then O’Donnell attacks Johnson for his religious beliefs.

This compulsion to lie might be considered normal in a standard politician, but Johnson has postured that he is a devoutly religious man—in fact, he even taped a promotional spot for an evangelical proselytizing organization known as Christian Embassy.

In that video tape, Johnson states that “I can’t imagine doing this [job] without the Lord.”

He also claims he meets with the group at his office early in the morning to “have a Bible study.” (It’s worth noting that Johnson claimed he was “too busy” to meet with Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., before announcing the California decision.)

There is simply no legitimate reason to attack Johnson’s faith in a discussion of regulatory policy. To do so is just bigotry.

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