President Bush has tapped Stephen Johnson—a 24-year veteran of the EPA—to serve as the agency's permanent administrator. Photo: EPA

President Bush has elevated Stephen Johnson from acting head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to the agency's officially nominated administrator. Johnson—a 24-year veteran of the EPA—stepped into the position when former administrator Mike Leavitt left in January to take over as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

“[Johnson] knows the EPA from the ground up and has a passion for its mission,” Bush said about the new administrator. The President added that one of Johnson's primary responsibilities would be to “lead federal efforts to ensure the safety of our drinking water supply,” saying the EPA has “an important role in the war on terror.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would become the first professional scientist to head the agency and would be its 11th administrator.