Person

Michael S. Regan

Born:

August 6, 1976

Nationality:

American

Occupation:

Environmental activist and government appointee

Michael S. Regan is a left-of-center environmental activist who is serving as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Biden administration. Previously, Regan was Secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality under Governor Roy Cooper (D-NC). [1]

Early Life

Michael S. Regan was born on August 6, 1976 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. His mother worked as a nurse and his father, a Vietnam War veteran, retired as a colonel in the North Carolina National Guard. [2]

Early Career

In 1998, Regan graduated from the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. [3] He began interning for the EPA and was soon hired as a full-time staffer. Regan worked at the EPA for ten years, eventually managing the national EPA program on reducing pollution and improving energy efficiency and air quality. [4] While working at the EPA, Regan graduated with a master’s degree in public administration from George Washington University. [5]

In 2008, Regan left the EPA to join the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), a left-wing environmentalist organization that was closely involved in the Obama administration’s environmental strategy. The EDF endorsed a number of left-of-center policies during the Obama administration, including the Paris Climate Accords, mandates for automobile fuel economy standards, and environmentalist energy production subsidies.” [6]

From 2008 to 2013, Regan was the director of the EDF’s Southeast Climate and Energy program. During this period, Regan worked alongside environmentalist organizations including the Sierra Club, the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, and the National Parks Conservation Association to retire coal plants operated by North Carolina’s Duke Energy company. In 2013, he was promoted to associate vice president of the EDF. [7]

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

Regan left the EDF and briefly started his own environmental consulting firm, M. Regan & Associates. He dropped this venture when he was appointed by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper (D) as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. One of his first actions was to establish the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board, which gave left-wing advocates against so-called “environmental racism” a say in the state’s environmental policy. [8]

During his time as secretary, Regan won a multi-billion-dollar settlement from Duke Energy, the state’s largest electric utility, for coal ash clean up. [9] Similarly, Regan reached an agreement with North Carolina’s Chemours Company to clean up the company’s PFAS pollutants in the Cape Fear River. [10]

Regan was also responsible for denying key permits for the Mountain Valley pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that would have extended from West Virginia to North Carolina. Regan called the pipeline “unnecessary” and rejected permits when the pipeline was estimated to be 92% complete. [11] A professor at West Virginia University’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research projected that Regan’s decision likely cost thousands of construction and engineering jobs, in addition to untold damage to America’s goal of energy independence. [12]

Regan was frequently critiqued by the left throughout his tenure as secretary. He was accused of being too soft on business and labeled as having a “mixed record on environmental justice issues” by the left-wing environmentalist organization Greenpeace. [13]

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

In December 2020, President Joe Biden announced that Regan would be nominated as administrator of the EPA. His selection was celebrated by North Carolina’s Republican Senators, Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, who praised Regan as fair and bipartisan. [14]

He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate, despite concerns from Senate Republicans that Biden administration climate advisor Gina McCarthy would force her agenda on Regan, effectively acting as “a shadow EPA chief.” [15]

References

  1. Mahoney, Adam. “EPA Nom Michael Regan Welcomed Activists – and Industry.” Grist, April 1, 2021. https://grist.org/politics/michael-regan-epa-north-carolina-environmental-justice/. ^
  2. Murphy , Brian. “EPA Nominee Regan Clears Senate Committee, Appears Headed for an Easy Confirmation.” The News & Observer. The News & Observer, February 3, 2021. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article248975865.html. ^
  3. Bernhardt, Lydian. N.C. A&T Alum Michael S. Regan Confirmed to Lead EPA, March 10, 2021. https://www.ncat.edu/news/2021/03/regan-confirmation.php. ^
  4. Bernhardt, Lydian. N.C. A&T Alum Michael S. Regan Confirmed to Lead EPA, March 10, 2021. https://www.ncat.edu/news/2021/03/regan-confirmation.php. ^
  5. “GW Alumnus Confirmed as Head of the EPA.” GW Today, March 12, 2021. https://gwtoday.gwu.edu/gw-alumnus-confirmed-head-epa. ^
  6. “Ready to defend Obama’s environmental legacy? Top 10 accomplishments to focus on.” Environmental Defense Fund. Accessed September 22, 2017. https://www.edf.org/blog/2017/01/12/ready-defend-obamas-environmental-legacy-top-10-accomplishments-focus. ^
  7. “Duke Energy Agreement Cuts Pollution by Retiring Coal Plants in Carolinas.” Environmental Defense Fund, January 17, 2012. https://www.edf.org/news/duke-energy-agreement-cuts-pollution-retiring-coal-plants-carolinas. ^
  8. Mahoney, Adam. “EPA Nom Michael Regan Welcomed Activists – and Industry.” Grist, April 1, 2021. https://grist.org/politics/michael-regan-epa-north-carolina-environmental-justice/. ^
  9. Friedman, Lisa. “A Consensus Builder for E.P.A. When Some Want a Fighter.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 2, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/climate/biden-epa.html. ^
  10. Woolverton, Paul. “Deal Reached for Chemours to Stop Remaining GenX Chemical Pollution of Cape Fear River.” News. Wilmington StarNews, August 13, 2020. https://www.starnewsonline.com/story/news/politics/elections/local/2020/08/13/deal-reached-for-chemours-to-stop-remaining-genx-chemical-pollution-of-cape-fear-river/113355154/. ^
  11. Skibell, Arianna. “ENERGY TRANSITIONS: ‘Unnecessary.’ N.C. Deals Major Blow to Pipeline Project.” ENERGY TRANSITIONS: ‘Unnecessary.’ N.C. deals major blow to pipeline project — Wednesday, August 12, 2020, August 12, 2020. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063711479. ^
  12. “Nixed Pipeline Project Means Lost Construction Jobs and Potential Impact on West Virginia Economy.” Newswise. Newswise, July 6, 2020. https://www.newswise.com/articles/nixed-pipeline-project-means-lost-construction-jobs-and-potential-impact-on-west-virginia-economy. ^
  13. Friedman, Lisa. “A Consensus Builder for E.P.A. When Some Want a Fighter.” The New York Times. The New York Times, February 2, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/climate/biden-epa.html. ; Mahoney, Adam. “EPA Nom Michael Regan Welcomed Activists – and Industry.” Grist, April 1, 2021. https://grist.org/politics/michael-regan-epa-north-carolina-environmental-justice/. ^
  14. Murphy , Brian. “EPA Nominee Regan Clears Senate Committee, Appears Headed for an Easy Confirmation.” The News & Observer. The News & Observer, February 3, 2021. https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/article248975865.html. ^
  15. Guillen, Alex. “Senate Confirms Michael Regan to Lead EPA.” POLITICO. POLITICO, March 11, 2021. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/03/10/michael-regan-epa-confirmed-475202. ^
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