President-Elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate North Carolina environmental official Michael S. Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, according to sources close to the former Vice President’s transition team.
Regan, 44, would be the first African-American to take the post. He was instrumental in leading the state’s multi-billion-dollar cleanup of coal ash and worked with members of the GOP legislature in Raleigh to improve environmental standards in North Carolina.
Regan would take on one of the most vital roles in the Biden Administration after promises to combat climate change and expand the use of renewable energy. The President-Elect also detailed plans in the final Presidential Debate to move away from fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions in the next 30 years. A statement that President Trump and his allies interpreted as a “industry-killing” move. “Basically what he is saying is he is going to destroy the oil industry,” Trump said in his rebuttal. “Will you remember that, Texas? Will you remember that, Pennsylvania? Oklahoma? Ohio?”
From early predictions, Regan might also champion new fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks. An original plan by the Obama administration which was abandoned by Trump. Other tasks will include cleaning up the country’s most polluted states that are currently operating outdated energy production facilities.
“In the past four years, the Trump administration has reversed or weakened more than 130 environmental protections and regulations,” according to a Washington Post analysis. “Those rollbacks include scaling back automobile fuel-efficiency standards and emissions limits for coal-burning plants, as well as lifting Obama-era limits on methane released from new oil and gas wells.”
“I am proud that President-elect Biden has recognized the talent we have here to select Michael Regan, North Carolina born and educated, to be EPA Administrator,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement Thursday night. “Michael has served as DEQ secretary with distinction, helping advance my climate change executive order and promoting creative solutions to some of our toughest challenges. He has important work ahead of him helping battle climate change on a national level, and I wish him and his family the best on this next step.”
Regan, a Goldsboro, N.C. native, currently oversees about 1,600 employees and seven regional offices across the state. He studied earth and environmental science at North Carolina A&T and later earned a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University. Regan has spent his career working in environmental initiatives. He returns to the EPA after serving in both the Clinton and Bush administrations, working on air quality and energy issues before leaving the agency in 2008.
In an Earth Day message to fellow North Carolinians this past April, Regan talked about his passion for the environment and the importance of helping to preserve the planet for future generations.
“I can vividly remember sitting near the edge of the river waiting to catch the first fish of the day or watching our beagles chase rabbits,” he wrote. “My love for the environment was instilled in me as a kid, and it has never left me. It is the reason I chose to make environmental protection my life’s work.”