EPA Administrator Christie Whitman named Jean-Mari Peltier, a former pesticide expert with California''s state environmental agency, to the post of counselor on agriculture policy.
"I am pleased that Jean-Mari Peltier has agreed to come on board and take on the challenge of this position," said Whitman. "Certainly her familiarity with both agricultural and environmental issues will ensure that we balance the two when pursuing our goal of a cleaner environment."
Peltier, of Newcastle, most recently represented the California Citrus Quality Council, serving as its president since May 1999.
Prior to joint the California Citrus Quality Council, she was chief deputy director in the Department of Pesticide Regulation for the California EPA.
In that capacity, Peltier oversaw day-to-day operation of the pesticide regulatory program.
Farm groups have long expressed concern over EPA''s actions to tighten rules for animal manure run-off in streams and pesticide safety reviews. The groups maintain that the agency did not consider the costs of the new regulations for American farmers.
Meanwhile, environmentalists have argued that farms should have to follow the same rules to limit pollution as other industries.
Whitman said the new position was established to help bridge this gap and consider the concerns of various stakeholders, including farmers and green groups.
"By establishing this position we will better able to integrate the concerns of the agriculture community when making important decisions about how best to protect our natural resources," said Whitman.
The new advisor will also serve as the central contact for EPA cooperation with the USDA and maintain an awareness of Congressional activities related to agricultural issues.
by Virginia Sutcliffe