North Carolina’s Michael Regan appears to be on track to be confirmed as President Joe Biden’s head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regan, currently the Secretary of Environmental Quality in Gov. Roy Cooper’s Cabinet, received strong positive reviews after his confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last Wednesday.
At his hearing, Regan spoke in the same measured, cooperation-oriented tones that have helped him work with very different interests here in North Carolina and his other previous roles. At the same time, he was clear in his defense of the need to act assertively against climate change and environmental racism, and in making the case that the transition to clean energy will produce more good jobs and boost the economy. His own story of suffering from childhood asthma growing up in an area impacted by toxic pollution, and his recognition of the need to aid communities hurt economically by dropping reliance on fossil fuel production, won him apparent support across the aisle.
Environmental advocates rallied in support of Regan’s nomination and applauded the committee endorsement for his confirmation. “Regan proved he is just the right person to lead the EPA in addressing the climate, racial justice, economic and public health crises, and he made clear he will always be guided by science and the law,” said League of Conservation Voters (LCV) Senior Vice President Tiernan Sittenfeld. “Regan has received bipartisan praise for his record of building coalitions and fighting for environmental justice for North Carolina communities exposed to toxic pollution — including runoff from hog farms and toxic PFAS chemicals in drinking water.”
“It’s a breath of fresh air, pun intended. He has done at the state level here in North Carolina what’s going to be asked of him to do at the national level: come in from a fresh perspective, take over from an administration that did everything wrong, and start anew,” our director of governmental relations Dan Crawford said.
Both of North Carolina’s senators, Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, introduced Regan to the committee last Wednesday, and indicated support for his nomination. But we have to make sure they stick to their word and then work with Regan and President Biden to protect us from climate change, PFAS contamination, and other crises. Email Burr and Tillis now!
Last week, the Senate also confirmed Pete Buttigieg’s nomination as the new Secretary of Transportation. Buttigieg is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who received positive reviews as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination last year. During his confirmation hearing, he said acting on climate change would play a major role in any infrastructure packages, because we have a “unique window of opportunity” to invest in infrastructure that also combats the climate crisis.
Speaking after Buttigieg’s confirmation, LCV’s Sittenfeld congratulated him and observed, “Secretary Buttigieg’s experience advocating for clean, place-based transportation at the local level and his 2020 presidential campaign plans for environmentally-smart infrastructure and disaster resilience and preparedness bodes well for state and local partnerships to reduce pollution. As we transition to a zero-emission future, we fully expect the Department of Transportation to ensure frontline communities and communities of color are front and center at every step.”