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Biden delivering a speech on climate change in September. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Michael Regan, the top environmental regulator in North Carolina, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, a source familiar with the decision confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: If confirmed by the Senate, Regan would be the first Black man to head the agency, which will be tasked with strengthening environmental standards after four years of the Trump administration's aggressive efforts to undo Obama-era protections.

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

  • Regan emerged as the leading candidate for EPA after civil rights groups objected to the nomination of Mary Nichols, who led the California Air Resources Board.

Background: 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.

  • The 44-year-old Regan also brings some EPA experience to the job, having served in multiple air quality roles there early in his career under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
  • His record in North Carolina includes a major settlement with utility giant Duke Energy on cleaning up wastes from coal-fired power production called coal ash.

What they're saying: Multiple environmental groups cheered the pick, including the League of Conservation Voters — which has close ties to the Democratic establishment — and 350.org, which part of the left flank of the green movement.

What we're watching: Regan's mandate at EPA will include breathing life into the Biden administration's vow to increase emphasis on the disproportionate pollution burdens faced by the poor and communities of color.

  • "[I]t will be critical for Regan to listen to and center the needs of environmental justice communities in the EPA’s policy making," Tiernan Sittenfeld, a senior LCV official, said in a statement.

Go deeper: What to make of the rest of Biden's climate and energy picks

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Biden's plan to upend Trump's environmental legacy

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden will on Wednesday order a government-wide review of over 100 Trump-era policies and direct agencies to prepare a suite of emissions and energy efficiency rules.

Why it matters: New information from transition officials offers the full scope of Biden's imminent, inauguration-day burst of environmental and energy policy moves.

On Day One, Biden will move to rejoin Paris Climate Agreement

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Biden on Wednesday will begin the formal process for the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement, making good on a highly touted campaign promise.

Catch up fast: President Trump first announced his intention to abandon the accord in June 2017, angering countries worldwide. The U.S. became the only country to pull out of the pact on Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the election and the first possible day for the country to withdraw under the agreement's terms.

DiDi to delist from NYSE under Chinese govt pressure

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese ride-hail giant DiDi said it will delist from the New York Stock Exchange, following a Chinese government crackdown on foreign listings.

Why it matters: This reflects how geopolitical tensions are bleeding into the capital markets.