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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: We've all had an important meeting we weren't exactly looking forward to, so you can understand how Stephen Johnson might be feeling this morning. He's the head of the Environmental Protection Agency and he has a date today with the new Democratic majority in Congress. Johnson isn't likely to get a warm welcome. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.

SAM EATON: Stephen Johnson will appear before Congress for the first time since landing the top spot at the EPA in 2005.

Today's Senate hearing will scrutinize agency decisions, like changing how national air pollution standards are set and giving political appointees more say in determining EPA policies.

Frank O'Donnell heads the advocacy group Clean Air Watch. He says it's about time the EPA had to answer for its actions.

FRANK O'DONNELL: For the past several years, Congress essentially has been a shield allowing the Bush administration to do whatever it wanted without much in the way of oversight.

At least three congressional committees are planning tough oversight of the EPA's decisions. All are chaired by newly-empowered Democratic critics of White House environmental policy.

The EPA's head defends his record. Johnson says America's air, water and land are cleaner today than they were a generation ago.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

Follow Sam Eaton at @eatonsam