Wyoming Senator Holds Up Environmental Nominee

By: By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer
By: By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Wyoming senator is holding up confirmation of President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

A spokesman for Sen. John Barrasso said the Republican has refused to agree to a unanimous consent motion to speed up a Senate confirmation vote on former New Jersey environmental official Lisa Jackson, Obama's choice for EPA administrator.

Barrasso spokesman Greg Keeley said the senator wants Jackson vetted more thoroughly. But his primary objection has to do with the newly-created position of White House energy czar filled by former EPA administrator Carol Browner. Keeley said Barrasso has been promised a meeting with Browner but no date has yet been set.

No Senate confirmation is required for the energy czar post and the line of authority - whether the EPA administrator, who deals with many energy issues, will report to Browner or someone else in the White House - is unclear, Keeley said.

"Senator Barrasso is uncomfortable with not knowing what the process is given that there is an appointed energy czar in the White House - Carol Browner," Keeley said. "He wants to know what the process is, how she will interact with Ms. Jackson."

"No one seems to be able to answer that question," Keeley said. "The worry is there is no accountability, it's not transparent."

Barrasso sent Jackson several questions and received written answers on Friday, and a transcript of her confirmation hearing testimony on Wednesday night, Keeley said. The senator wants some more time to review both, he said.

Barrasso's action is expected to briefly delay but not block Senate confirmation of Jackson.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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