Who Is Michael Regan?

Michael Regan is the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He is the first Black man to ever hold this position. Prior to this, he had been the the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017. President Joe Biden nominated Regan in late 2020 and he was confirmed by the Senate on March 10, 2021. He was sworn into office on March 11, 2021.

Regan leads the EPA, whose mission is to protect human and environmental health. He oversees the EPA's implementation of regulations concerning environmental law as enacted by Congress, and he is expected to reverse many steps by the Trump administration to dismantle major U.S. environmental regulations.

As the head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan 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.

In the past, Regan also 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. Regan previously spent nearly a decade at the EPA dealing with air pollution issues. Regan also established an environmental and energy consulting firm.

Regan received his bachelor's degree from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and his master's degree from George Washington University.

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  2. CNN. "Senate Confirms Michael Regan as Head of Environmental Protection Agency." Accessed March 23, 2021.

  3. United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Michael S. Regan Sworn in as 16th EPA Administrator." Accessed March 23, 2021.

  4. United States Environmental Protection Agency. "Our Mission and What We Do." Accessed Jan. 30, 2021.

  5. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. "DEQ Secures the Nation's Largest Coal Ash Excavation of Nearly 80 Million Tons of Coal Ash." Accessed Jan. 30, 2021.

  6. The New York Times. "Michael Regan, Biden's E.P.A. Pick, Faces 'Massive Reconstruction and Rebuilding'." Accessed Jan. 30, 2021.

  7. U.S. News. "Biden Picks Regan for EPA Nominee, Haaland for Interior Head." Accessed Jan. 30, 2021.