WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2015 - A Colorado state agriculture official and former congressional aide has been selected as the EPA’s next agriculture liaison.

Ron Carleton, Colorado’s deputy agriculture commissioner, worked for Congress for 30 years, most recently as chief of staff to then-Rep. John Salazar, who is now Colorado’s agriculture commissioner.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia confirmed Wednesday that Carleton had been named to the EPA post. The appointment comes at a time when the agency is under fire from farm groups for a number of initiatives, including its proposal to re-define the “waters of the United States” that are subject to regulation under the Clean Water Act.

In an e-mail to agency staff, Purhcia said Carleton will be working in the immediate office of EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy with the title of Counselor to the Administrator. She said that while working on Capitol Hill, Carleton focused not only on agriculture, but on issues involving energy, the environment, water and land management. A lawyer, Carleton also was an adjunct professor with Marymount University’s business school in Arlington, Virginia, teaching classes on public policy and administrative law.

Carleton has been in his state post since June 2012 and has focused on farm bill issues as well as industrial hemp and other policy matters, according to his agency's bio. In addition, Purchia said he chaired the state Food Systems Advisory Council, which provides recommendations on increasing access to local foods, and he served on the task force implementing Amendment 64, the ballot issue that legalized adult use and possession of marijuana.

(This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. on Jan. 8.)

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