North Carolina’s Regan approved by Senate environment panel as EPA chief

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

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted Tuesday to move forward the nomination of Michael Regan to lead the EPA.

Following that bipartisan 14-6 vote, the nomination of Regan, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, now will head to the full Senate for confirmation.

The chairman of the committee, Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, said in a statement that he’s confident Regan will focus on climate change and environmental justice and listen to scientists.

“He is a man of deep faith who believes that we have a moral obligation to be good stewards of this planet,” Carper said. “Mr. Regan has experience bringing people together to solve our most pressing environmental issues and make sure no community gets left behind in the process. I’m confident he will bring his sterling record of public service to lead the EPA with integrity and compassion.”

If confirmed, Regan will head into an agency that has sustained budget cuts and environmental protection rollbacks from the previous administration.

Both of North Carolina’s Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, supported Regan’s nomination during his confirmation hearing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, members also approved Carper’s motion to rename two panels to include climate and environmental justice. The committee said it’s the first time a Senate subcommittee has included environmental justice in its title.

The panels are now the Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee and the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee.