North Carolina’s Michael Regan is Biden’s nominee for EPA administrator

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan is the President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for EPA administrator. Credit: NC Policy Watch

NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan is the President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for EPA administrator, according to multiple news sources.

NC Policy Watch reported yesterday that Regan was the leading contender for the job. A Goldsboro native, Regan has been DEQ secretary since 2017; he was appointed by Gov. Roy Cooper.

A DEQ spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Regan worked at the EPA for nine years in the late ’90s and mid-’00s before joining the Environmental Defense Fund.

EDF issued this statement from Hawley Truax, Southeast Regional Director of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Regan previous served as EDF’s Southeast regional director.

Secretary Regan has led a complex state agency with a positive spirit and a steady hand for the past four years. He’s been a collaborative, energizing force, putting into action his core belief that when you make decisions with input from a diverse group of stakeholders your outcomes are better and more durable because of it.

During Secretary Regan’s tenure at North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, the state launched its most ambitious clean energy and climate resilience plans. Thanks to Michael’s leadership and his belief that science drives sound decision-making, we are positioned to make meaningful progress on reducing carbon emissions and securing a healthier, safer and more equitable future for our state.

As an environmental advocate working in North Carolina, I am sorry to lose Michael Regan as the Secretary of our Department of Environmental Quality, but he is an outstanding leader who will be an asset to the Biden administration. I wish him the best.

Dan Crawford, director of Governmental Relations, NC League of Conservation Voters, also issued a statement:

“With Michael Regan, President-elect Biden continues adding to his historically qualified and diverse Cabinet, replacing a fossil fuel industry puppet with an experienced EPA air quality scientist, just as Gov. Cooper did when he put Regan in charge of our DEQ four years ago. Regan has gone to bat for North Carolinians against polluters, and now the rest of the country will get to benefit from his leadership. North Carolina’s loss will be America’s gain.”

Environmental justice advocates were mixed about his nomination. Many supported his ascension to the nation’s highest environmental post because of his work on the coal ash cleanup, climate change, and his opposition to offshore drilling; others said he had failed to address the PFAS contamination in drinking water, air pollution sources in communities of color, and the agency’s permitting of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which Duke and Dominion later halted.

However, the NC Black Alliance, which includes environmental justice leaders, supported the nomination. “We respect the voices in the environmental justice community who dissent with these views. However we hope to convey our belief that Secretary Regan would be an immensely qualified nominee to lead the EPA.”

This story is from the NC Policy Watch, a partner at the nonprofit States Newsroom that includes the Florida Phoenix media outlet.

Lisa Sorg
Lisa Sorg, assistant editor and environmental reporter, joined NC Policy Watch in July 2016. In addition to helping to develop, edit and manage content for both Policy Watch websites, she reports on environmental issues, including social justice, pollution, climate change and energy policy. Before joining the project, Lisa was the editor and an investigative reporter for INDY Week, covering the environment, housing and city government. She has been a journalist for 22 years, working at magazines, daily newspapers, digital media outlets and alternative newsweeklies.