Vilsack aide joins EPA as agricultural counselor

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A senior official at the Agriculture Department has moved to U.S. EPA to serve as the agency’s senior agricultural counselor.

Sarah Bittleman will advise on how environmental issues affect farmers and ranchers, EPA said in a statement.

“EPA is dedicated to an open and constructive working relationship with the agriculture community, as with all stakeholders,” the agency said. “Sarah’s work will continue to ensure that the overlaps among environmental and agricultural issues and the concerns of rural communities are carefully considered in every action EPA takes.

Bittleman replaces Larry Elworth, who retired last November. She joined the agency yesterday after serving as senior adviser to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, specializing in energy and EPA.

“Sarah has done extraordinary work at USDA, often putting in the extra hours to get things done,” Vilsack said in a statement. “She knows how to get to ‘yes’ regardless of the challenge, while providing a careful and balanced approach on wide ranging policies. She will be missed at USDA, but will make a great addition at EPA.”

Prior to joining USDA, Bittleman worked for the Interior Department and as a staffer in both the Senate and House specializing in agriculture, energy, natural resources, Native Americans and climate change, EPA said. She received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Union College in New York, a master of public administration from East Carolina University and a juris doctorate from Tulane University School of Law.