NC Senators Endorse Regan for EPA Administrator at Confirmation Hearing

Michael Regan, Secretary NC Department of Environmental Quality

PHOTO: REUTERS/Brandon Bell/Pool

NC Senators Endorse Regan for EPA Administrator at Confirmation Hearing

February 5, 2021

North Carolina Republican Senators Richard Burr and Thom Tillis introduced Michael S. Regan to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 for a hearing on his nomination to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regan is now serving in Governor Roy Cooper's Administration as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. If confirmed by the Senate he soon will become a member of President Joe Biden's cabinet.

Both North Carolina senators spoke highly of Secretary Regan in their introductions. They characterized him as someone who will find the right balance and ensure a constructive relationship with stakeholders.

Senator Burr said, "As Secretary of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, Secretary Regan was able to find the right balance by reaching out to stakeholders and ensuring that the department’s relationship with rural communities, whose life blood is agriculture, was constructive not adversarial."

Senator Tillis called it an honor to introduce a fellow North Carolinian. He said, "By all accounts from those who have worked shoulder to shoulder with him, Secretary Regan has earned a reputation for being a thoughtful leader willing to engage, and I have no doubt he will continue to do so as Administrator of the EPA."

AP News reported that Regan's commitment of bipartisanship was evident as he was "enthusiastically introduced by North Carolina's two Republican senators. The report said that Burr called Regan "extremely qualified" and Tillis said Regan is someone lawmakers "can rely on to be fair."

Secretary Regan said in his opening remarks to the committee, "This Administration’s priorities for environmental protection are clear. We will restore the roles of science and transparency at EPA, and support the talented, dedicated career officials. We will move with a sense of urgency on climate change. We will stand up for environmental justice and equity."

Regan's statement about moving with a sense of urgency on climate change became the prevailing headline of most news reports. President Biden has made climate change a priority agenda item including the appointment of former EPA administrator Gina McCarthy as head of the new White House Office of Climate Policy and former Secretary of State John Kerry as international presidential envoy on climate change.

President Biden's emphasis on climate change and related appointments caused West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito, the top Republican conducting the confirmation hearing to wonder if Regan can be effective. In her opening remarks, Senator Capito said, "I am concerned about some of the appointments that the President has made where they are not in the purview of this committee or any, really, Congressional committee or Congressional oversight. That of course would be Gina McCarthy and John Kerry. They have already established themselves as the unconfirmed and unaccountable czars on climate." Senator Capito expressed concern about the impact on Regan should he be become the EPA administrator and who will be making decisions.

Secretary Regan responded to concerns about White House staff with no accountability to Congress by saying the EPA administrator position reports  to the president. Regan said, "I have no reason to believe that the positions of the EPA and the positions of the White House staff will get equal hearings. Hopefully, we will have robust discussions in a manner that will yield the best results for the President to achieve this ambitious climate goal."

Hearing Committee members have until 4:00pm on Friday, February 5, 2021 to submit written follow-up questions. Secretary Regan is expected to respond by 10:00am on Monday February 8, 2021. Sometime after that the committee will vote on his nomination followed by a confirmation vote on the Senate floor.


Full Hearing Transcripts and Webcast Recording 
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Website • Hearing on the Nomination of Michael S. Regan to be Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency • Feb 3, 2021 2:00 PM

AP News: Biden EPA nominee vows 'sense of urgency' on climate change 
by Daly • Associated Press • Feb 4, 2021