President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Michael Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
In his new role, Regan will lead the government agency whose mission is to protect human health and the environment. He will oversee the EPA's implementation of regulations concerning environmental law as enacted by Congress, and is expected to reverse many steps by the Trump administration to dismantle major U.S. environmental regulations.
Regan has served as the head of the NC Department of Environmental Quality since the start of 2017. In this role, he was credited with achieving the largest coal-ash cleanup settlement in U.S. history, and for ordering chemical company The Chemours Co. (CC) to renew its steps to clean up toxic substances from the Cape Fear River.
Prior to his current position, Regan served as the associate vice president of U.S. Climate and Energy and as southeast regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund, where he led efforts to reduce the impacts of climate change and air quality pollution. He has more than 18 years of professional experience in dealing with complex environmental challenges, and has worked with the EPA during both the Clinton and Bush administrations.
Regan will play a crucial role in President Biden's goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, and the elimination of fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035. Some environmental groups have criticized him for not being tough enough in standing up to fossil fuel and agricultural interests, but he has been commended by others for giving a greater voice to poor and minority communities on key decisions.
Early Career and Education
Regan first joined the EPA in 1998, spending the first three years as a special assistant to the U.S. assistant administrator of air and radiation. He held two other roles before becoming the agency's national program manager of program design, office of air quality planning & standards.
Regan received his bachelor of arts degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and his master of arts degree from The George Washington University.