WASHINGTON (March 10, 2021)—The U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on whether to confirm President Biden’s nominee, Michael Regan, for EPA administrator. His experience as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), along with his commitment to environmental justice, makes him a strong choice to lead the EPA, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).
Below is a statement by Dr. Kathleen Rest, executive director of UCS.
“In North Carolina, Mr. Regan gave science-based guidance to Governor Cooper and was a strong advocate for clean air, water and energy. This bodes well for the EPA promoting the robust public health and environmental safeguards that our communities want, need and deserve. He will need to stand up to powerful interests that have assailed the EPA’s public health mission during the previous administration and prioritized corporate interests over the public good.
“In addition, given his work with overburdened rural communities in North Carolina, Mr. Regan understands the harms and disparate impacts of environmental pollution. I’m hopeful he will give environmental justice voices a new and stronger platform in the EPA.
“The EPA has a sizeable and critical portfolio of issues that require urgent action. For example, transportation is the biggest source of global warming emissions in the country and a major source of health-threatening pollution, so it will be especially important for Mr. Regan to set strong vehicle emissions standards that will help deliver an innovative, clean transportation system. Administrator Regan should also immediately re-assert state authority to set emission standards.
“If confirmed, Mr. Regan will also face the challenges that come with addressing reduced scientific capacity and low morale at the agency. His past success at boosting employee morale at the North Carolina DEQ will be invaluable as he works to reenergize staff at an EPA left battered by the previous administration.
“The next administrator has a host of big tasks ahead, and we look forward to working with Mr. Regan to ensure the EPA agency lives up to the challenge.”