Michael Regan, an environmental official from North Carolina, is expected to be named as President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to run the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Washington Post and other news outlets reported Regan was Biden’s pick. Two sources, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, told publications about the decision to name Regan as administrator before it was formally announced.
Regan previously served with the EPA under former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. If named, Regan would be the first Black man to lead the EPA. He is currently serving as the head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Regan Is a Top Environmental Protection Official in North Carolina
A Black man will lead the Environmental Protection Agency!
— Deitra Matthews, MPA – Public Policy (@deitramatthews) December 17, 2020
Regan, 44, was named as the top environmental official in North Carolina in 2017. He was appointed by Governor Roy Cooper, according to his Department of Environmental Quality profile.
“As DEQ secretary, Regan oversees the state agency whose mission is to protect North Carolina’s environment and natural resources. The organization has offices from the mountains to the coast and administers regulatory and public assistance programs aimed at protecting the quality of North Carolina’s air, water and land, its coastal fisheries, and the public’s health,” his profile says.
He also served on boards and commissions including the UNC School of Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics; Green 2.0; N.C. Commission on Global Climate Change; the N.C. Energy Policy Council and the Executive Steering Committee of Envision Charlotte, his profile says.
His LinkedIn profile says he oversees $2 billion in assets, 1,600 employees and seven regional offices in his state position.
“Michael S. Regan has served as the 17th Cabinet Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017,” his profile says. “As the chief executive officer, Regan oversees approximately two billion dollars in assets, 1,600 employees and seven regional offices across the state of North Carolina.”
2. Regan Grew Up With Asthma, Which Helped Inform His Views on Pollution
President-elect Joe Biden has picked an experienced state regulator, Michael Regan, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Regan is head of North Carolina’s environmental agency. https://t.co/6R64Z8eTxu
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) December 17, 2020
Regan had asthma as a child, and it helped to inform his decisions on the importance of addressing pollution, a source told The Washington Post.
“Regan realizes that America’s environmental laws and policies must, first and foremost, protect the most vulnerable,” the source said. “Growing up with asthma in eastern North Carolina, Regan saw toxic pollution, agricultural waste and environmental destruction being concentrated near communities of color and low-income communities.”
Environmental groups told NBC News they were pleased with Biden’s presumptive pick for EPA administrator.
“We are confident Michael Regan will rebuild the EPA, restore the central role of science, and advance health protections for people and the air, water and land upon which we depend to thrive,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, an official with the League of Conservation Voters, said.
3. Regan Is Known for a Multibillion-Dollar Coal Ash Settlement With Duke Energy
Breaking WaPo: Biden will choose to nominate Michael Regan, who heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, as the next EPA administrator.
⁰Regan would be the first Black man to run the EPA. https://t.co/FFB827x03y
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 17, 2020
Cassie Gavin, the Sierra Club’s director of government relations for North Carolina, credited Regan in a large settlement between the state and Duke Energy. In an interview with The Washington Post, Gavin said Duke Energy had a long-running dispute with North Carolina over cleaning up coal ash ponds, which were a source of toxic water and air contamination. The agreement mandated that Duke Energy move some of the ash stored in ponds near aging coal-fired power plants to off-site landfills, according to the Post. Some of the ash will be put in lined landfills on site, which was the energy company’s preference. It is the most costly coal ash plan in the nation with an estimated price tag of $4 billion to $8 billion.
“He was very tough on Duke,” a former utility executive told the Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his business relationships.
Natalie Mebane, climate group 350.org’s associate director of policy, told NBC News Regan is an experienced leader who will help meet Biden’s climate goals.
“We support Biden’s choice of Regan, an experienced and dedicated environmental leader, as EPA administrator. Biden’s collaboration with Regan will be key to fulfilling the administration’s mandate to face the accelerating climate crisis at scale, starting first with the reversal of the Trump administration’s harmful rollbacks,” she said.
Biden is also expected to name Gina McCarthy as his domestic climate coordinator and John Kerry as his climate czar, NBC News reported. He is naming Ali Zaidi, an aide to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, as his deputy White House climate coordinator.
4. Regan’s Appointment Would Make Him the First Black Man to Lead the EPA
President-elect Joe Biden plans to select #MichaelRegan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), picking a longtime #EPA insider to lead the agency, according to multiple Thursday reports. https://t.co/hyhIFpcdUc pic.twitter.com/vKqKlw5wps
— 🎙️ @MakeItPlain with @ministter (@MakeItPlain) December 17, 2020
If named to the EPA role, Regan would become the first Black man to lead the federal agency, NBC News reported. He would be the second Black EPA chief in history, following Lisa Jackson, who held the role during President Barack Obama’s first term.
This would not be Regan’s first time working with the federal agency. He also worked for the EPA during the Bill Clinton and the George W. Bush administrations, according to his Department of Environmental Quality profile. He served as a national program manager responsible for designing programs aimed at reducing pollution and improving energy efficiency and air quality during his time with the EPA.
As EPA administrator, he would be responsible for leading Biden’s climate proposals, which include investing in green energy and infrastructure and combatting environmental injustice.
Biden’s climate plan says, in part:
If we can harness all of our energy and talents, and unmatchable American innovation, we can turn this threat into an opportunity to revitalize the U.S. energy sector and boost growth economy-wide. We can create new industries that reinvigorate our manufacturing and create high-quality, middle-class jobs in cities and towns across the United States. We can lead America to become the world’s clean energy superpower. We can export our clean-energy technology across the globe and create high-quality, middle-class jobs here at home. Getting to a 100% clean energy economy is not only an obligation, it’s an opportunity. We should fully adopt a clean energy future, not just for all of us today, but for our children and grandchildren, so their tomorrow is healthier, safer, and more just.
5. Regan Lives in Raleigh With His Wife & Son & Founded an Environmental Solutions Firm
WASHINGTON (AP) — AP Sources: President-elect Biden to pick North Carolina regulator Michael Regan to lead Environmental Protection Agency pic.twitter.com/hrXwOlg9Ds
— Meg Kinnard (@MegKinnardAP) December 17, 2020
Regan is married to his wife, Melvina. They have a son named Matthew and live in Raleigh, North Carolina, his North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Profile says.
He is from Goldsboro, North Carolina, a small, landlocked city in eastern North Carolina. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Earth and Environmental Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and his master’s degree in Public Administration from George Washington University, his profile says.
Regan also founded M. Regan & Associates, LLC, in 2017, according to his LinkedIn profile.
His profile says:
Michael S. Regan, founder of M. Regan & Associates, is dedicated to helping organizations find transformational solutions for the most complex and important energy, environmental and economic challenges.
With over 18 years of experience focused on market-based energy, environmental and public health solutions, Michael is applying his talents and executive level experience in the areas of policy, regulation, strategy, implementation, management and fundraising.