Michael S. Regan

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Michael S. Regan
Michael S. Regan official photo.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
16th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Assumed office
March 11, 2021
PresidentJoe Biden
DeputyJanet McCabe
Preceded byAndrew R. Wheeler
2nd Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
In office
January 3, 2017 – March 11, 2021
GovernorRoy Cooper
Preceded byDonald van der Vaart
Succeeded byElizabeth Biser
Personal details
Born (1976-08-06) August 6, 1976 (age 46)[1]
Goldsboro, North Carolina, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic[2]
EducationNorth Carolina A&T State University (BS)
George Washington University (MPA)

Michael Stanley Regan[3] (born August 6, 1976) is an American environmental regulator. He has been serving as the 16th administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency since March 11, 2021.[4] He is the first African American man to serve in the role.[4]

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[edit]

A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina,[5] Regan is the son of Mavis Regan, a nurse for nearly 30 years,[6] and Zeb Stuart Regan Jr.,[7] a Vietnam War veteran, retired colonel in the North Carolina Army National Guard,[8][9] and former agricultural extension agent.[6] He has a brother and a sister.[1] 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.[5]

Early career[edit]

Regan began his career as an environmental regulator for the Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration and Bush administration from 1998 to 2008.[10] He then joined the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where he ultimately became the associate vice president for clean energy and a Southeast regional director.[11] He remained at the EDF for over eight years.[12]

North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality[edit]

In 2017, North Carolina governor Roy Cooper selected Regan to serve as the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.[13] 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.[14][15]

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.[14] 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.[14] In addition, Regan oversaw the state's climate change interagency council, which worked to advance Governor Cooper's pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.[16]

In January 2020, Regan secured an agreement with Duke Energy for the largest coal ash contamination cleanup in United States history.[17] 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.[10] 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.[10]

Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency[edit]

Regan in 2021


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.[16] 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.[18]

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.[19] The full Senate confirmed his nomination 66–34 on March 10, 2021,[20] and he was sworn in on March 11, 2021.[21]


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.[16]

Under his leadership, the EPA and United States Army issued a revised rule defining the federal government's jurisdiction over waters and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.[22]

Political future[edit]

In 2023, speculation surrounding a potential candidacy by Regan for Governor of North Carolina in the 2024 election arose.[23] Valerie Foushee, U.S. Representative from North Carolina's 4th congressional district, stated that she has heard "murmurings, nothing concrete" about a potential bid.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Regan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, with his wife, Melvina, and son, Matthew. 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.[25]


  1. ^ a b Cama, Timothy; Bogardus, Kevin; Cusick, Daniel (February 2, 2021). "Young Michael Regan: 'Determined to do something important'". E&E News. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  2. ^ "Biden picks top North Carolina environmental official to run EPA". Washington Post. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  3. ^ "PN78-16 – Michael Stanley Regan – Environmental Protection Agency". U.S. Congress. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Liz Stark (March 10, 2021). "Senate confirms Michael Regan as head of Environmental Protection Agency". CNN. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  5. ^ a b "NC DEQ: Michael S. Regan". deq.nc.gov. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "EPA Administrator". US EPA. March 9, 2021. Retrieved March 12, 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)Public Domain This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  7. ^ General Index to Births, Wayne County. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina State Archives.
  8. ^ Murphy, Brian (February 3, 2021). "EPA nominee Regan clears Senate committee, appears headed for an easy confirmation". The News & Observer. Raleigh, North Carolina. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  9. ^ "PN522 – Army". U.S. Congress. May 1, 2003. Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  10. ^ a b c Pager, Tyler; Colman, Zack; Guillén, Alex (December 17, 2020). "Biden to tap North Carolina environmental regulator Regan to head EPA". POLITICO. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  11. ^ "N.C. Governor Roy Cooper names Michael Regan as secretary of environment". Environmental Defense Fund. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  12. ^ Teirstein, Zoya (December 14, 2020). "Biden needs an EPA chief. Here's the shortlist". Grist. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  13. ^ "Biden picks regulator Michael Regan for EPA administrator". Hosted. December 17, 2020. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Murphy, Brian (December 15, 2020). "NC environmental official a contender to lead EPA in Biden administration, sources say". The News & Observer.
  15. ^ "NC DEQ: DEQ announces the creation of a Secretary's Environmental Justice & Equity Board". deq.nc.gov. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Friedman, Lisa (December 17, 2020). "Biden to Pick Michael Regan, North Carolina Environment Regulator, to Head E.P.A." The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  17. ^ Downey, John (January 3, 2020). "Deal with NC regulators requires Duke Energy to excavate 80M tons of coal ash from six sites". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved December 17, 2020.
  18. ^ Tollefson, Jeff (December 18, 2020). "Biden's pick to head US environment agency heartens scientists: Veteran environmental regulator Michael Regan will lead the Environmental Protection Agency, joining a team of experienced climate appointees". Nature. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
  19. ^ "Environment and Public Works Committee Sends Nomination of Michael Regan for EPA Administrator to the Senate Floor". U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. February 9, 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  20. ^ Guillén, Alex (March 10, 2021). "Senate confirms Michael Regan to lead EPA". POLITICO. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  21. ^ "Michael S. Regan Sworn in as 16th EPA Administrator" (Press release). Environmental Protection Agency. March 11, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021. Michael S. Regan was sworn in as the 16th Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today.
  22. ^ Magill, Bobby (December 30, 2022). "EPA Issues Revised Federal Waters Rule as Court Ruling Looms". Bloomberg Law. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  23. ^ Cama, Timothy; Bogardus, Kevin (January 20, 2023). "Rumors swirl: Is EPA's Regan running for governor?". E&E News. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  24. ^ Baltzegar, Alex (January 20, 2023). "Cooper declines to endorse Stein in 2024 gubernatorial race". The Carolina Journal. Retrieved January 27, 2023.
  25. ^ "NC DEQ: Michael S. Regan". deq.nc.gov. Retrieved December 17, 2020.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality
Succeeded by
Dionne Delli-Gatti
Political offices
Preceded by Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded byas White House Chief of Staff Order of precedence of the United States
as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Succeeded byas Director of the Office of Management and Budget