“Environmental justice advocates now have an empowered voice with the incoming administration and a potential new ally in Michael Regan, President-elect Joe Biden's pick for EPA administrator.
Groups pushing for civil rights and polluted communities upended the race on who would lead the agency for Biden. They lobbied hard against Mary Nichols, the outgoing California Air Resources Board chair, who was long considered the front-runner for the job, saying she had ignored their concerns about front-line communities dealing with industrial waste.
Soon enough, Regan, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, emerged in recent days as a contender, and yesterday, Biden's transition team announced him as the nominee for head of EPA. If confirmed, Regan will be the first Black man to serve as EPA administrator.
Bishop William Barber II, a civil rights activist, has known Regan from his time in state government. The co-chair of the Poor People's Campaign said Regan has taken on polluters as head of DEQ, saying, “He's someone who will not turn a deaf ear on what the environmental justice community is championing.”