Michael Regan, President Joe Biden’s decide to steer the Environmental Protection Agency, instructed lawmakers Wednesday that he would transfer swiftly to rein in planet-warming greenhouse fuel emissions, restore the injury that the Trump administration inflicted on the federal company and put environmental justice communities on the coronary heart of the company’s efforts.
Regan, 45, presently North Carolina’s high environmental regulator, testified at a affirmation listening to earlier than the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. If confirmed, Regan would make historical past as the primary Black man to steer the company. And he would inherit an company that below President Donald Trump was run by a former coal lobbyist and dismantled dozens of fresh air, water and public well being safeguards.
“Our priorities for the environment are clear,” Regan instructed the committee. “We will restore the role of science and transparency at EPA. Will will support the dedicated and talented career officials. We will move with a sense of urgency on climate change. And we will stand up for environmental justice and equity.”
Regan is probably going headed for a speedy affirmation. He acquired glowing introductions from North Carolina’s two Republican senators, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr. Burr known as Regan “extremely qualified” and stated he would stability environmental stewardship with the wants of rural communities.
“If you want to address complex challenges, you must first be able to see them from all sides and you must be willing to put yourself in other people’s shoes,” Regan stated.
Although the listening to remained cordial, Republicans voiced their displeasure with Biden’s flurry of early government orders on local weather, which amongst different issues reentered the U.S. into the Paris local weather accord and canceled a key allow for the Keystone XL pipeline. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) stated she is “concerned that this is shaping up to be a third Obama administration” and requested if the Biden administration is planning to resurrect the Clean Power Plan, a coverage limiting greenhouse fuel emissions from energy crops that the Trump administration changed in 2019.
Regan skirted the query, saying the EPA has a chance “to take a clean slate.” He stated he plans to “not look backward but to look forward” and “convene all parties relevant to this discussion.”
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) cautioned Regan to not transfer ahead too rapidly. He stated EPA was “captured” by the fossil gas business below Trump and urged the nominee to confront the lingering impacts.
When Regan took over the North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality in 2017, he stated morale was low and he needed to assess the injury earlier than making modifications. That expertise, he instructed Whitehouse, would assist him navigate the post-Trump panorama at EPA.
“There are lots of staff at EPA right now doing a reevaluation of a ton of rules and activities that may or may not have been done in a transparent manner or leveraged science the way we’d like,” Regan stated. “We’re going to correct that, and then we’re going to begin to carry this country forward.”
Regan additionally echoed Biden’s promise to prioritize low-income and communities of shade because the administration pursues its environmental agenda. One of the chief orders Biden signed final week creates a White House interagency council on environmental justice, in addition to new or strengthened environmental justice workplaces throughout the EPA, Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services.
“Environmental justice is something that is near and dear to my heart,” Regan stated in response to a query from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “The justice system in this country is failing in a number of areas, including in the environmental justice arena.”
Regan dedicated to establishing an environmental justice adviser place at EPA and pushing for extra sources to assist remedy environmental inequality.
Gary Morton, president of AFGE Council 238, a union that represents 1000’s of EPA staff, known as Regan “a breath of fresh air” after “four years of attacks and hostility from the Trump administration.”
“If confirmed, it’s clear that Regan would be committed to the EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment, and would once again put science at the forefront of decision making,” Morton stated.
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