EPA:

Ex-Administrator Johnson joins chemical company board

Former U.S. EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson yesterday joined the board of directors of garden chemicals giant Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.

Johnson served as EPA's assistant administrator in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances before taking the helm of the agency for the last five years of the George W. Bush administration. A career scientist, he had been at the agency since 1979 after first working in laboratories at biotech companies.

Johnson's tenure as EPA administrator was not without controversy. He tried to block state efforts to regulate greenhouse gases -- a move that prompted some senators to call for his resignation. And in 2008, four labor unions representing EPA staffers wrote an open letter to Johnson, accusing him of ignoring the agency's own rules for professional conduct when promoting Bush administration environmental policies.

Johnson's election to the Scotts board is effective immediately, according to a news release issued yesterday, and provides the company with a high-profile Washington presence to match its $3 billion-plus in annual revenues.

"We are committed to a culture of regulatory compliance and to protecting our environment, and Steve's appointment to our Board reinforces that point," Scotts CEO Jim Hagedorn said in a statement.

Scotts sells lawn fertilizers and other chemical-based garden products in addition to running a residential garden care service ranked as the second-largest in the United States. The company also markets Monsanto Co.'s Roundup herbicide in the United States and much of Europe.

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