The U.S. Senate in a bipartisan vote Wednesday confirmed Michael Regan as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Regan, who had served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017, was confirmed in a 66-34 vote, with 16 Republicans voting in his favor. North Carolina Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis were among the Republicans voting to confirm.
Regan, 45, becomes the first African American male to lead the agency, which is seen as central to President Biden’s agenda.
Regan previously served as Southeast regional director of the Environmental Defense Fund and in the EPA’s air quality and energy programs during the Clinton and Bush administrations.
The Southern Environmental Law Center released Wednesday before the expected vote a statement by Derb Carter, its North Carolina director, expressing desire to continue working with Regan on issues such as coal ash cleanup, wetlands protection and emerging contaminants such as GenX and related per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances found in North Carolina’s drinking water supplies.
The law center cited the past four years working with Regan’s DEQ to address pollution and challenging the Trump EPA’s rollback of Clean Water Act protections.
“Just as we worked with the state agency under Regan’s leadership to secure cleanups of coal ash and PFAS pollution in North Carolina, we look forward to tackling the serious problems facing our communities across our nation with a rejuvenated EPA under his leadership,” Carter said.
Gov. Roy Cooper has named Dionne Delli-Gatti, director of regulatory and legislative affairs for Environmental Defense Fund’s Southeast Climate & Energy, to succeed Regan at DEQ.