By on December 18, 2020

Michael Regan Nominated as EPA Head

Michael Regan, who heads the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, is President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee as the next Environmental Protection Agency administrator.

A central figure in Biden’s pledge to combat climate change, foster green energy, and fight environmental racism, Regan would oversee power plants, oil and gas facilities, and other pollutant centers. He would also police the automakers and set standards for fuel-efficiency. If his nomination is confirmed by the Senate, Regan would be the first African-American male to run the EPA.

Enforcement of environmental laws and the protection of those most vulnerable is a key part of the Biden agenda. Growing up in eastern North Carolina, Regan saw toxic pollution, agricultural waste, and environmental destruction being concentrated near communities of color and low-income communities. 

Regan is credited with getting North Carolina and Duke Energy to settle a long-running dispute over cleaning up coal ash ponds, a source of toxic water and air contamination. At $4 billion to $8 billion, it is the most costly coal ash cleanup in the nation.

Under Regan, North Carolina ordered Chemours, a chemical company, to eliminate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), from seeping into the Cape Fear River. Used in cookware, stain repellent, and other products, the chemicals have been linked to low infant birth weights, immune system problems, thyroid hormone disruption, and cancer.

With a Democratic governor and Republican legislature, Regan has dealt with a divided state government, experience that could come in handy in Washington. Regan has been credited with restoring morale at the state agency, after the polarizing tenure of his predecessor, whom critics accused of favoring polluting industries.

If confirmed, he would inherit an agency embattled over how it should exercise its authority to clean up pollution and combat climate change. In nominating Regan, Biden passed over more experienced environmental regulators and experts, some of whom were supported by Democrats bent on unwinding the Trump administration’s rollbacks.

Before entering state government, Regan worked as southeast regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund from 2008 to 2016, where he focused on lessening the impacts of climate change in the region, improving air quality in polluted communities, and growing clean energy. Prior to that, he worked at the EPA on air quality and energy issues, serving as a national program manager responsible for designing initiatives aimed at reducing pollution and market-based solutions to improve energy efficiency, air quality, and climate-related challenges.

A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Regan studied earth and environmental science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and later earned a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University.

[Image: NC Dept. of Environmental Quality]

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61 Comments on “Michael Regan Nominated as EPA Head...”


  • avatar
    SPPPP

    This man seems like he is highly qualified, motivated, and willing to take on a challenge. (The Duke Energy settlement is very significant and may prove to be a real success story for future generations to look back on.) It seems like his appointment will be positive for controlling pollution in our environment. I don’t really know how it will play out for cars and TTAC. But I guess we will see.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Career bureaucrat and supplicant. :-/

    • 0 avatar
      2manycars

      CO2 is not a “pollutant” and “climate change” is a natural phenomenon that we cannot control.

      If these creeps raise fuel points to the point of pain, people in the U.S. should respond by starting a mass movement to stop payment of income taxes. Starve the damned Beast and bring it to heel.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The tired old CO2 is not a pollutant shtick…
        “A pollutant is a substance or energy introduced into the environment that has undesired effects, or adversely affects the usefulness of a resource.”

        CO2 from animals/humans in itself is not a pollutant but becomes a pollutant in massive quantities from burning fossil fuels.

        We see acidification of water, and its affects as a “greenhouse” gas.

        • 0 avatar
          ect

          Lou_BC is right.

          In the desert, over-watering is pollution. Seriously.

          In the atmosphere, excess CO2 is pollution.. More seriously.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          You are correct Lou, but sometimes you can lead that horse to water, yet…

          I tell those who say excessive CO2 not a pollutant to chow down on a handful of potassium supplements. Its absolutely necessary to regulate your body, but in excessive quantities it will kill you. So, deniers, chow down. We can write on your headstone that you finally figured out what the word pollutant means.

          As to Michael Regan, he is a breath of fresh air after the anti-science Pruett and Wheeler. Agencies should work for the public good, not for industry insiders. Swamp, indeed.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          Lou_BC,

          “The tired old CO2 is not a pollutant shtick…”

          The tired old climate change shtick. It used to be called “global warming,” but, then, without explanation became the ambiguous “climate change.”

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        If you put a plastic bag over your head, you would very soon realize how carbon dioxide is toxic when the concentration is too high. Posting your simplistic untruth over and over does not make it true.
        The humans on Earth are currently “controlling” climate change by creating it. To bring the increasing chaos back to normal, we have to greatly reduce carbon emissions and replant the forests, among other steps.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          RHD,

          “If you put a plastic bag”

          Fill that bag with nitrogen and you would soon get the impression that nitrogen is a pollutant. The atmosphere is mostly nitrogen.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Fight environmental racism! ACAB! Free Trayvon!

  • avatar
    CaddyDaddy

    I can’t tell if this is an actual article or a cut and paste press release from the Pres. Elect Harris team. If this is what passes for Journalism at TTAC, talk about a low bar. Also, what a load of mealy mouthed Gaslighted dribble. “Regan saw toxic pollution, agricultural waste, and environmental destruction being concentrated near communities of color and low-income communities”. Please cite sources.

    … as far as the future, plan on spending $400 per month on your electric bill. Also, please note the State PUCs in this country being packed with Green $$ Energy cronies on a revolving door that would make retiring Generals at the Pentagon blush.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “and fight environmental racism”

    after this, I stopped reading

    • 0 avatar
      Jesse

      Oh come on. It’s not that hard of a concept to understand. Even you could probably wrap your head around it if you tried.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      The poor which tends to be racial minorities are more likely to live in high risk areas. They also don’t have the clout to change things. White suburbia won’t tolerate a carcinogenic chemical plant backing onto their property. Those in a ghetto or slum get ignored.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Toxics get dumped where the poorest people live. Who is going to listen to them?
        Here is just one, for starters.
        https://www.metrotimes.com/detroit/communities-of-color-are-dumping-grounds-for-toxic-waste-in-michigan/Content?oid=25351963

        It’s so easy to be a keyboard commando and post cookie-cutter right-wing BS. Caring about people and the world we live in is a much better road to take. And your grandkids would be grateful to you.

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      slavuta,

      “environmental racism”

      I think they are trying to say “socioeconomic.” The term they use is inaccurate, inflammatory and irresponsible — but, then, what else is new? Why say it right when you can twist it around and foment destructive hysteria? Why be ethical(?)– it’s so passe. Go team!

    • 0 avatar
      Old_WRX

      slavuta,

      “after this, I stopped reading”

      Obviously, you just don’t have any interest in social justice.

      And a little Covid reality: https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/no_author/who-calls-into-question-ability-of-rt-pcr-test-to-detect-covid-19-false-positives/

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Take heart; it could have been Mary Nichols from CARB.

    But her age (75) and color (white) may have lowered her chances.

    Interestingly, North Carolina is not a CARB state.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “fight environmental racism”

    Mr. Sakurai you are better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Jesse

      Oh man, I’m already getting the feeling that discussing the topic of environmental racism will be my topic of choice for getting under the skin of right-wing snowflakes over the next year. Thanks for identifying this early as a triggering term. It’s gonna be a fun year (or four)!

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Anyone with half a brain will ignore your Newspeak (I will go further and mock it).

        Truly the world had gone mad when two completely different concepts can be combined and then infused with hate.

        • 0 avatar
          Jesse

          So “environmental racism” is Newspeak?

          Are you suggesting that the environment and racism cannot be discussed together? It’s really not a hard concept to grasp, especially if you have at least half a brain. Some environmental decisions affect disadvantaged folks more than others. For example, toxic waste sites that are near low-income housing. This is not a new concept.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Correct!

            Oh JFC we have to dissect environmental decisions now?

            Ask the important questions:

            Which local “public servants” got their hands greased?

            Which law firm billed all the hours?

            Who provided the financing and what was their end?

            Who is on the board of the company behind it?

            Who are the majority shareholders?

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Jesse Jackson is that you?

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Um.

            If ‘environmental racism’ means what I think it does– and I know it does– does that mean I get to be a racist if I talk about how this isn’t racist at all, but classist?

            I’m a blue-collar whiteboy from a black city. This right here– is straight uckery.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @iNeon It can be “classist” and/or racist. There is considerable overlap.

          • 0 avatar
            Jesse

            @slavuta,
            “Jesse Jackson is that you?“

            I’m impressed. You both know the name of a black person and sorta know how to make a pun.

            Your pair of brain cells must be sore from rubbing together to come up with that one.

            So if that was supposed to be an insult, you may need to explain to my why.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            We’re going to clean up the ghettoes. We’re going to do it with funds everyone’s contributed-to— and we’re going to do it for the stated goal of helping the (poor, black) children.

            We’re calling it the war on environmental racism.

            And it is positive.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @iNeon….looks like Jesse is correct.

            #Tiggered

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Poor little nuclear fallout babies like the Sally Struthers commercials lol from, like- Baltimore, and Birmingham.

            Loraine, Ohio and Gary, Indiana too.

            I have, like— tens of absolute trash garbage cousins smeared across the steel towns of this great nation that say this plight isn’t racist at all.

            We and our parents have paid public servant guys like this to clean this isht up for 30 years, at least. Why isn’t it clean yet?

          • 0 avatar
            Old_WRX

            Jesse,

            “So “environmental racism” is Newspeak?”

            Yup.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          28,
          I am sure you will like this one
          http://judeochristianamerica.org/Soros&Son/

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Any new factory in a lower-income urban area would be considered environmental racism. So how is he going to build back better? I’m not being smart, I’m just curious as to how that’s going to work. Are we just going to limit the new manufacturing jobs to rural white areas?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Made in China will do it

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Superdessucke – any new factory, chemical plant, refinery etc. Should be built to a standard where the health of anyone will not be seriously impacted. One shouldn’t be allowing high density residential housing or any housing for that matter next door to any heavy industry.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Eh, I don’t know Lou BC. We just had a huge stink here over Target building a warehouse facility in a disadvantaged neighborhood. It would have redeveloped and cleaned up a former coal plant eyesore.

        The SJWs fought it to the death. There was no evidence presented by the activists that the facility would have exceeded permitted EPA emissions, Yet they almost blocked it. Their cry was that it was going into a disadvantaged neighborhood.

        I mean ok, yes, but where do you expect land to be affordable? Who needs the jobs? I thought the whole thing was rather misguided. I can’t imagine what would have happened if it was an auto plant, not the any would want to locate here due to our tax burden.

        • 0 avatar
          Superdessucke

          “One shouldn’t be allowing high density residential housing or any housing for that matter next door to any heavy industry.”

          This was in the I-55 industrial corridor (as I said, it was a former coal plant). It is nearby dense residential. Everything in Chicago is, of course. Does China subscribe to the same principle? I’m just afraid we’re going to be at a disadvantage right out of the gate when it comes to returning manufacturing to the U.S.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          A Target warehouse isn’t heavy industry in the purest sense so it makes no sense to block. Target would most likely be on the hook to clean up the site.
          I’m all for sensible development. The right and left have fringes that should be reigned in by more centrist views.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            The best part was when they tried to knock down one of the old coal plant buildings to begin the cleanup and they screamed to the rafters about dust. So this dangerous teetering old 8-story shell of a building is still standing there months later, looking like a good wind will blow it over any day now.

            Can you imagine the Chinese government holding up a project because of a small environmental group? LOL! The facility would be up already and the group would be receiving some “re-education” on the importance of Chinese global competitiveness. We are at a huge competitive disadvantage already. I just hope this pick doesn’t make it worse.

      • 0 avatar
        Old_WRX

        Lou_BC,

        ” Should be built to a standard where the health of anyone will not be seriously impacted.”

        Should and might be. But, the rich and powerful (regardless of race) still ain’t gonna let it be built near them.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I can handle pretty much anything they throw at the cars, including 5 dollar gas, but when they cut off the nat gas for home heating like Cali is starting to do, I’m worried. I had a heat pump with resistance heat supplemental back in the 80s, they suck in cold climates and are high maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      That’s interesting news. Living in California, heating my home with natural gas, there seems to be no lack of supply, and nothing in the works to dig up and replace all the Pacific Gas & Electric infrastructure.

      So much misguided disinformation… it’s the bedbugs of the Internet.

  • avatar

    What else did you expect?

  • avatar

    I forgot, what we were talking about?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    @SuperdessuckeI agree about sensible development especially converting land that was a former coal plant into a Target warehouse distribution center. Better to redevelop and offer jobs to those in a blighted area than to just leave the decay of a former coal plant without any new jobs. I live in a area that is on I-275 in Northern KY that includes Amazon, the Gap, Toyota, Fram, and many other warehouses that have brought extra tax revenue to my area that has resulted in the lowest property taxes in the Cincinnati area and accelerated growth. True there is a lot more truck traffic but the proximity to I-275 and the airport has caused an economic boom.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      Seemed like a no-brainer to me. Obviously it didn’t to the community activists, and they did their very best to kill it. Then, we’d have had a 0 job polluted eyesore for many more decades to come. And it isn’t like this area isn’t industrial already, you know? And hopefully soon, we’ll have electric trucks, meaning pollution from the site will go down to near zero.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Pretending that what capitalism does to poor people is because they’re black and not because they’re poor absolves our betters of any obligation whatsoever towards poor people that aren’t black, assigns the blame for capitalism in action to poor white people, and disintegrates public support for addressing any of it.

    Bezos continues to Mars, Kamala continues to Washington, and Black Trans Lives continue to Matter to lawyers and stock traders in neighborhoods where the only poor people allowed are the gardeners.

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