Image: Michael Regan. Source: deq.nc.gov
By Jarrett Renshaw
(Reuters) – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Michael Regan, North Carolina’s top environmental regulator, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to three sources with knowledge of the discussions.
If confirmed, Regan would be the first Black man to run the EPA and would become one of the key players in Biden’s sweeping agenda to fight climate change by bringing the U.S. economy to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
His nomination would end a prolonged and competitive contest for the position that also included California’s environmental chief Mary Nichols, who had widely been seen as the front-runner for her nation-leading efforts to fight climate change by curbing emissions from the transport and power sectors.
Regan brings years of experience dealing with fossil fuel industries in his home state, including overseeing a roughly $9 billion settlement agreement with utility Duke Energy for the nation’s largest clean-up of coal ash.
He has served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017. Previously, he worked at the EPA in its air quality and energy programs under presidents of both parties.
The sources told Reuters that Regan was in the final stages of vetting by the Biden team and an offer could be made soon.
A Biden transition team spokesman declined to comment.
Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia, additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Laura Sanicola; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Scott Malone, Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall.