Officials swore in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s new administrator Thursday. The Senate confirmed Michael Regan to the position on March 10 by a 66-34 vote.
Regan will be the first African- American man to serve in the role.
“Our priorities for the environment are clear,” Regan said during his confirmation hearing in February. “We will restore the role of science and transparency at EPA. We will support the dedicated and talented career officials. We will move with a sense of urgency on climate change, and we will stand up for environmental justice and equity, and we will do that in a collaborative manner in partnership with state and local governments who know their own communities better than federal government ever could. We will work transparently and responsibly with industries eager to establish clear and consistent rules of engagements, and we will engage working Americans whose voices have been absent from these conversations about our environment for far too long. And last but not least, we will work to do this in partnership with Congress leveraging your expertise and concerns for your constituents as we build healthier comm through environmental stewardship and economic growth.”
Regan is a native of North Carolina, with a bachelor’s degree in earth and environmental science from North Carolina A&T State University and a master’s in public administration from George Washington University.
He served as an environmental regulator at the EPA between 1998 and 2008. He then joined the Environmental Defense Fund as an executive. In 2017, North Carolina’s governor tapped Regan as secretary for the state’s Department of Environmental Quality. During Regan’s time there, the office won settlements against Duke Energy for coal ash cleanup as well as Chemours concerning the dumping of PFAS into the Cape Fear River.
Regan has support from both environmental and agricultural groups, and 16 Republicans senators voted with all 50 Democrats to confirm him.
“Too often we overlook whether a nominee has the right character to lead an organization. In this case, there’s no question that Michael Regan has that character,” Sen. Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, said on the Senate floor before voting for Regan Wednesday.