Dec 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden close to naming Michael Regan as EPA administrator

Joe Biden

Joe Biden. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images

Michael Regan, the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, has emerged as a leading candidate to head the Environmental Protection Agency, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: If nominated and confirmed, Regan, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, would be the first Black male to head the agency and is yet another example of Biden assembling one of the most diverse Cabinets in U.S. history.

The big picture: Regan could be part of a slate of nominees expected to be announced later this week, including former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm for Energy Department head and Gina McCarthy as domestic climate czar.

  • Regan emerged as the leading candidate after civil rights groups objected to the nomination of Mary Nichols, who led the California Air Resources Board.
  • Regan's interview with Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris went well, according to a person familiar with the matter.
  • A transition official declined to comment.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Ben Geman: Regan brings EPA experience to the job, having served in multiple air quality roles there under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

  • If confirmed, he'll be leading an agency slated to play a key role in Biden's climate change agenda — managing the tricky task of unwinding Trump-era rules and writing new ones to fit an agenda that Biden's campaign said would be more aggressive than Obama-era policies.
  • The North Carolina regulator brings ties to the environmental movement, having served in several senior roles with the Environmental Defense Fund in the 2010s, per his LinkedIn bio.
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