Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Organization: United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Date of Birth: 6 August 1976
Age: 46 years old
Michael Stanley Regan is an American environmental regulator. He has been serving as the 16th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency since March 11, 2021. He is the first black man to serve in the role. Regan has formerly served as the secretary of North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality and air quality specialist in the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). His elevation to that role was widely praised by environmental groups because of his track record for addressing environmental racism and supporting policy to address climate change.
Early life and education
A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Regan is the son of Mavis Regan, a nurse for nearly 30 years, and Zeb Stuart Regan Jr., a Vietnam veteran, retired colonel in the North Carolina Army National Guard, and former agricultural extension agent. He has a brother and a sister. Growing up, he hunted and fished with his father and grandfather in the inner coastal plain of North Carolina.
Regan attended North Carolina A&T State University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in earth and environmental science. He then attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he received a Master of Public Administration.
Regan began his career as an environmental regulator for the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration and Bush administration from 1998 to 2008. He then joined the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where he ultimately became the associate vice president for clean energy and a Southeast regional director. He remained at the EDF for over eight years.
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
In 2017, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper selected Regan to serve as the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. During his tenure, he launched the state's Environmental Justice and Equity Board with a charter to advise the Secretary on how best to advance environmental justice and promote community engagement, particularly across historically underserved and marginalized communities. He also worked to develop the state's Clean Energy Plan, which aims to reduce private sector greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and ultimately move towards carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan also outlines recommendations and goals of accelerating innovations in clean energy technologies, while creating opportunities for rural and urban communities across North Carolina. In addition, Regan oversees the state's climate change interagency council, which has worked to advance Governor Cooper's pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
In January 2020, Regan secured an agreement with Duke Energy for the largest coal ash contamination cleanup in United States history. The company committed to excavating eighty million tons of ash across seven of nine coal ash deposits. His department also ordered the chemical company Chemours to address and eliminate toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which they were dumping into the Cape Fear River upstream of a major source of drinking water. While generally favored by environmental organizations, Regan has clashed with the environmental movement. In 2018, he approved permits for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, though the project was ultimately cancelled.
Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
On December 17, 2020, members of the Biden presidential transition team told the press Regan would be nominated to serve as the next United States Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Regan is the first black man to run the agency and is responsible for helping to advance the Biden administration's commitment to combating climate change, promoting green energy innovations, and addressing the effects of environmental racism.
Regan's nomination was endorsed by the Environmental Protection Network, an organization composed of former EPA appointees and career staff which was created to oppose the Trump administration's efforts to roll back environmental regulations. On February 9, 2021, members of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee voted 14–6 to send Regan's nomination as EPA administrator for a full Senate vote. The full Senate confirmed his nomination 66–34 on March 10, 2021, and he was sworn in on March 11, 2021.
Regan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Melvina, and son. Their first-born son, Michael Stanley Regan, Jr. ("MJ") died on August 16, 2012 from stage IV high-risk neuroblastoma at the age of one.