President-elect Joe Biden will nominate Michael S. Regan, who heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, as the next U.S. EPA administrator, according to two sources who anonymously spoke to the Washington Post.
The decision has not yet been formally announced, according to the Washington Post.
Regan, 44, would be the first Black man to run the EPA, playing a crucial role in executing Biden’s plans to combat climate change, embrace green energy and address environmental racism.
Regan would be responsible for: crafting fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks; overseeing emissions from power plants and oil and gas facilities; and cleaning up the country’s most polluted sites.
According to the Washington Post, Regan served as North Carolina’s top environmental official since early 2017. Some of his accomplishments include creating a tough multibillion-dollar settlement over a coal ash cleanup with Duke Energy, establishing an environmental justice advisory board and reaching across the political divide to work with the state’s Republican legislature. Regan has also worked with disadvantaged communities.
Regan is credited with getting the state and Duke Energy to settle their long-running dispute over cleaning up coal ash ponds, which creates toxic water and air contamination. North Carolina won an agreement to move some of the ash stored in ponds near aging coal-fired power plants to off-site landfills, while some will be put in lined landfills on site.
This is perhaps the most costly coal ash cleanup plan in the nation, between $4-8 million.
Even further, in another high-profile case, Regan saw success in getting North Carolina to order chemical company Chemours to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from seeping into the Cape Fear River. Regan also created an environmental justice advisory board and has advised the state on plans to combat climate change.