President-elect Joe Biden has picked Michael S. Regan, head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat who hired Regan, called him "a consensus builder and a fierce protector of the environment. He's been part of a strong, diverse cabinet in North Carolina. And if he is selected by the president-elect, I have no doubt that he will do the same kind of job for our country," The Associated Press reported.
Democratic U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina said Regan was “well-prepared to meet the environmental challenges of our day and execute the policies of President Joe Biden. I look forward to a fair and expedited confirmation process in the United States Senate."
Environmental groups praised the selection, NBC reported.
“We are confident Michael Regan will rebuild the EPA, restore the central role of science, and advance health protections for people and the air, water and land upon which we depend to thrive,” said Tiernan Sittenfeld, an official with the League of Conservation Voters.
Regan has been in his current post since 2017. His experience includes helping efforts to hold chemical company Chemours accountable for chemical contamination and working to better regulate hog farms.
Regan also spent a decade at the federal EPA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, where he worked on air pollution issues.
The EPA post is expected to be a key position in the Biden administration, as he has promised an ambitious program to fight climate change.
While the head of the EPA is usually seen as the top federal environmental official, Biden selected John Kerry to be a “climate czar.”