updated 4/15/2005 11:05:17 AM ET 2005-04-15T15:05:17

A lone senator moved Thursday to block President Bush’s choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, accusing the White House and EPA of stonewalling his requests for data from the agency.

Utilizing a power enjoyed by all senators, Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., put a temporary hold on the nomination of Stephen Johnson, EPA’s acting chief, to serve as the agency’s next administrator.

“For the past three years, I’ve sought from EPA information that I believe we need to make the best choices for the country to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and CO2 (carbon dioxide),” Carper told reporters.

“They’ve done extensive modeling on the president’s ’Clear Skies’ proposal. They’ve done very little on the other two major proposals,” he said, referring to a bill by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., and another by himself and Sens. Lincoln Chafee, R-R.I., Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.

Carper said he spoke Wednesday night with Johnson to let him know what he was doing. He acknowledged the studies he wants could take a month, indicating he would be satisfied with “a binding, no-turning-back” assurance that the work would be performed.

Since April 2003, Carper sent at least four letters to EPA seeking data to help him and his colleagues compare a Bush proposal on air pollution with two competing plans that also address carbon dioxide, the main “greenhouse” gas blamed for global warming.

Carper said he believes Johnson, a career EPA employee for about 25 years and the first person with a science background to be nominated to lead the agency, would make a good administrator if the White House doesn’t interfere with him politically.

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