Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Senator Boxer Gets Results

Congratulations to Senator Boxer! As Jean Dudley pointed out a few days ago Senator Boxer took a stand against the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, or CHEERS, calling it "appalling, unethical and immoral," and urging EPA Administrator nominee Stephen Johnson to "Pull the plug tomorrow."

And pull the plug he did. The Senator herself summarizes this episode in an email to her constituents:
Dear Friend:

Last week, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public
Works, on which I serve, considered the nomination of Stephen
Johnson to become Administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency. I wanted to tell you about the hearing and the
important result of that hearing.

Stephen Johnson is a career EPA employee who has headed its
pesticide program for the past four years. Under his watch,
EPA began a program called “CHEERS” -- or the Children's
Environmental Exposure Research Study. This program enlisted
families who use pesticides in their homes to sign up to
videotape their infants in order to document the side effects
of pesticide exposure. For their participation, families
received $970 each, a camcorder and clothing for their child.
The American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry trade
group, provided a portion of funding for this study.

In my tenure in the U.S. Senate, I have seldom heard of a more
callous program than CHEERS. We ask EPA to protect us and our
children from environmental hazards -- not pay parents to
record, in a completely unscientific manner, the exposure of
their own children to pesticides.

During his hearing, I asked Mr. Johnson if he had cancelled the
program. He said that it had been “suspended.” Suspension of
this program was not enough. Along with Senator Bill Nelson
(D-FL), I announced my intent to hold up Mr. Johnson’s
nomination, believing that the well-being of children was
reason enough to stop his nomination. The following day, EPA
announced that CHEERS had been cancelled.

Our Constitution provides that the Senate shall provide both
advice and consent on the nomination of presidential
appointments. These are both serious by their very nature.
You can count on me to continue to ask hard questions and
demand accountability by nominees. If you have any questions
about this or any other matter, please be sure to contact me.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

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