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The Washington Independent

Stephen Johnson Is No James Watt

Mitchel Nash
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | May 20, 2008

The House oversight committee’s afternoon with EPA chief Stephen Johnson is wrapping up. One of the most interesting elements of the day was the the sympathetic Republican line of questioning, that ultimately didn’t give Johnson much to work with.

Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Ut.) said that he had "environmental bona fides" and knows how to walk a "middle path" between regulation and economic interests. Cannon’s bona fides? He said he worked with James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s secretary of the Dept of Interior.

As secretary, Watt set the record for fewest species he judged endangered, though, today’s Interior chief, Dirk Kempthorne, has broken that by not judging a single new species "endangered." (Though, polar bears got a little bit of a nod last week.) Watt also banned the Beach Boys from playing a White House-sponsored July 4, 1983 concert at the Washington mall saying the rock band brought an "undesirable element" (the Dead Kennedy’s ended up playing a not-White House sponsored concert in their place).

Oh, and Watt was indicted on 25 felony counts for improperly lobbying Housing and Urban Development as Interior secretary.

Perhaps, by evoking Watt, Cannon was making a sophisticated point that there have been worse political appointees than Johnson. But it seemed that he was just an admirer of James Watt.

Mitchel Nash | Mitchel works for a high-tech telecommunication firm as a software engineer with vast experience and management skills. The company creates and provides technologies that help service providers provide high-quality voice and data services over broadband access networks while maximizing their network infrastructure investment. He is in charge of the production of the company's management software products as a senior software engineer. Mitchel has a B.Sc. in Computer Sciences from Tel-Aviv Jaffa Academic College.

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