Who Is Michael Regan?

Michael Regan is the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the first Black man ever to hold this position. Before this, he had been the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017.

President Joe Biden nominated Regan in late 2020, and the Senate confirmed him 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. He is expected to reverse many steps by the Trump administration to dismantle major U.S. environmental regulations.

Key Takeaways

  • Michael S. Regan is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nominated by President Biden.
  • He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on March 10, 2021.
  • Regan is the first Black man ever to serve in this role in the EPA.
  • Regan grew up in North Carolina and served as the state's secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
  • He is a champion of creating programs that support environmental health in poor and minority communities.

Early Life and Education

Regan was born and grew up in Goldsboro, N.C., and credits his love of protecting the environment with the copious amounts of time he spent in nature, hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather. The Inner Coastal Plain of North Carolina and its land and waters informed Regan's relationship with the natural world.

Regan's mother was a nurse for 30 years, and his father was a Colonel with the North Carolina National Guard, who served in Vietnam, and a former agricultural extension agent.

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

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.

Notable Accomplishments

As the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan was credited with achieving the largest coal-ash cleanup settlement in U.S. history and 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 the 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 dealing with complex environmental challenges and has worked with the EPA during both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

As the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan led complicated and difficult negotiations regarding the clean-up of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. The river had suffered contamination for years due to the dumping of toxic chemicals per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS). 

Criticism

Regan plays a crucial role in President Biden's goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and eliminating fossil fuel emissions from the power sector by 2035.

However, some environmental groups have criticized him for not being tough enough in standing up to fossil fuel and agricultural interests. Still, he has been commended by others for giving a greater voice to poor and minority communities on critical decisions.

What Does Michael S. Regan Do?

Michael S. Regan is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He was appointed under President Joseph Biden.

What Is the EPA?

The EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the United States federal government. The EPA's mission is to protect environmental and human health by regulating the use, manufacturing, processing, and distribution of chemicals and other pollutants that may impact water and air quality. It also oversees programs that support all aspects of the environment, from sustainable growth practices to promoting energy efficiency.


How Has Michael Regan Helped the Environment?

While working as the head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan accomplished the largest coal-ash cleanup settlement ever recorded in the United States. He ordered The Chemours Co., a well-known chemical company, to clean toxic substances from the Cape Fear River, which flows into the Atlantic ocean.

Where Did Michael Regan Grow Up?

Michael Regan grew up in Goldsboro, N.C., but spent time along the Intracoastal Waterway of his home state.

The Bottom Line

Michael S. Regan is the first Black man ever to serve as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). An active environmentalist, he served as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Regan is known for supporting environmental endeavors and protections in poor and minority communities. He established his home state's first-of-its-kind Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory board that works to address social inequality, provide environmental protection, and support community empowerment.

Article Sources
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  1. Environmental Protection Agency. "EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan."

  2. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. "Michael S. Regan."

  3. North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. "N.C A&T Alum Michael S. Regan Confirmed to Lead EPA."

  4. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. "DEQ Secures the Nation's Largest Coal Ash Excavation of Nearly 80 Million Tons of Coal Ash."

  5. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. "Michael S. Regan."

  6. United States Environmental Protection Agency. "EPA Administrator."

  7. The White House. "FACT SHEET: President Biden Sets 2030 Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Target Aimed at Creating Good-Paying Union Jobs and Securing U.S. Leadership on Clean Energy Technologies."

  8. The New York Times. "Michael Regan, Biden's E.P.A. Pick, Faces 'Massive Reconstruction and Rebuilding'."

  9. Environmental Protection Agency. "EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan."

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