Biden picks NC DEQ secretary Michael Regan for EPA administrator

FILE – In this Jan. 3, 2017 file photo, Michael Regan listens as North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announces that Regan will lead the Department of Environmental Quality in North Carolina, at the Executive Manson in Raleigh, N.C. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH – Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden has picked Michael S. Regan, currently the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality secretary, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, according to news reports.

Regan, who has led the state’s environmental agency since 2017, was one of several contenders whose name emerged only in recent days. Biden’s pick was confirmed Thursday by a person familiar with the selection process who was not authorized the discuss the matter publicly before the official announcement and spoke on condition of anonymity.

California clean-air regulator Mary Nichols had faced increasing objections from progressive groups, who said Nichols had not done enough to address the disproportionate harm low-income and minority communities face from living next to oil and gas installations, factories and freeways.

Gov. Roy Cooper, who hired Regan for the state job, said Regan was “a consensus builder and a fierce protector of the environment. He’s been part of a strong, diverse cabinet in North Carolina. And if he is selected by the president-elect, I have no doubt that he will do the same kind of job for our country.”

Regan points to his efforts to hold accountable Chemours, which is the main business blamed for the toxic PFAS pollution, and other work ranging from improving regulation of the state’s giant hog farms to releasing a plan to cut climate-damaging fossil fuel pollution from power plants by 70 percent within 10 years.

He previously spent almost a decade at the federal EPA, including managing a national program for air-pollution issues.

His past jobs included serving as an associate vice president for climate and energy issues at the Environmental Defense Fund advocacy group and as head of his own environmental and energy consulting firm.

You may attribute this statement to Dan Crawford, Director of Governmental Relations, NC League of Conservation Voters:

“With Michael Regan, President-elect Biden continues adding to his historically qualified and diverse Cabinet, replacing a fossil fuel industry puppet with an experienced EPA air quality scientist, just as Gov. Cooper did when he put Regan in charge of our DEQ four years ago,” said NC League of Conservation Voters director of government relations Dan Crawford. “Regan has gone to bat for North Carolinians against polluters, and now the rest of the country will get to benefit from his leadership. North Carolina’s loss will be America’s gain.”

Regan has a bachelor’s degree from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a master’s from George Washington University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.