U.S. Senate confirms alumnus as first Black man to lead EPA

Alumnus Michael Regan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate Wednesday as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Regan, who was confirmed in a 66-34 vote, earned a master’s degree in public administration with a specialization in federal policy, politics and administration from the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration in 2005. President Joe Biden nominated Regan in December as the first Black man to lead the EPA in its 50-year history.

“We will be driven by our convictions that every person in our great country has the right to clean air, clean water and a healthier life, no matter how much money they have in their pockets, the color of their skin or the community that they live in,” Regan said at his nomination announcement.

Before his nomination, Regan served as secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, where he received national recognition for his coordinated approach to regulation and enforcement.

Regan also holds a Bachelor of Science in earth and environmental science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. Regan worked for the EPA as an intern and went on to work at the agency for nine years in various offices and roles.

“I knew I wanted to find a way to serve,” Regan said at his Senate confirmation hearing. “That led to my first summer internship at EPA. I spent nearly 10 years at EPA under presidents of both parties. It is an honor of a lifetime to be invited back.”

Regan has served as both an environmental protection specialist for the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards and a special assistant for the director of radiation and indoor air, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Regan said as EPA administrator he would address ongoing issues like climate change and disproportionate effects on marginalized communities with a “sense of urgency.”

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