OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Former Washington state Sen. Don Benton will be staying on at the Environmental Protection Agency as the agency's senior White House adviser.

The EPA's acting administrator, Catherine McCabe, announced the news in a video message to employees this week. However Benton told The Associated Press in a phone interview Wednesday that he knew from the beginning that his post with the administration would be beyond the transition period, though he noted he serves "at the pleasure of the president for the time being." Benton said his role was always separate from some of the other transition members he oversees — like Sen. Doug Ericksen — who knew their positions would run no longer than 120 days.

In the video message, McCabe said that Benton would be working closely with her to advise her on the new administration's policies and executive orders.

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