Linda Fisher, an executive with Monsanto Co., has been nominated for the second-ranking post at the Environmental Protection Agency, the White House has announced.

Fisher, who worked for the EPA for 10 years before heading Monsanto's Washington lobbying office, is nominated for the post of deputy administrator. She also served on a U.S. Agriculture Department advisory committee on biotech foods.

One of the major issues currently before the EPA is a request from Aventis SA to approve the genetically- modified corn known as StarLink for human consumption. StarLink, a variety altered to repel pests, has not been approved due to concerns that it might trigger allergic reactions in some people, but Aventis says its research shows the corn is safe and poses no risk to human health.

The EPA, which regulates plants altered to produce their own pesticides, is also considering whether to renew the registration of Bt corn, cotton, and potato varieties that were approved six years ago. The registrations are set to expire in September.

Other nominees

The White House also submitted two other nominations for key posts at the EPA.

  • Stephen Johnson, who is currently acting assistant administrator, was nominated to be assistant administrator for pesticides.

  • Jeffrey Holmstead, a White House adviser during the first Bush presidency, was nominated to be assistant administrator for air and radiation.

In addition to the EPA nominations, the Bush administration nominated James Connaughton to head the Council of Environmental Quality. An environmental lawyer, Connaughton has been a lead negotiator during the past seven years on a U.S. advisory group to the International Standards Organization on environmental standards.

The U.S. Senate must confirm all presidential nominees.