Michael Regan

Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency

Fast Facts

Air Quality Specialist 


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On March 11, Michael Regan was sworn in as the Environmental Protection Agency’s 16th administrator, with 16 Republicans joining all 50 Democrats in supporting him. Regan is the first Black man to lead the agency. 

Regan started his career with the EPA the same year that he graduated college. He worked for the agency for a decade, starting as a special assistant to the assistant administrator for air and radiation, and eventually becoming the national program manager for program design in the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. 

He then left the agency to work for the Environmental Defense Fund, where he worked his way up to associate vice president of U.S. climate and energy and Southeast regional director. 

Regan most recently served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. He developed and implemented Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order to address climate change and created the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board to focus on inequality. 

In his first remarks as EPA administrator, Regan voiced support for the Biden administration’s goal of reaching a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, creating jobs, and addressing the impact of climate change on underserved communities. 

Approach and Motivations

Excerpted from Michael‘s Vignette profile

With experience shaping environmental regulation at multiple levels of government and in the advocacy sphere, Regan pushes inclusive climate policy that weighs the interests of private-sector stakeholders, nonprofits, and underserved communities

  • Describes growing up hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather in North Carolina, as well as his experience dealing with asthma, as inspiring his interest in the environment, pollution, and policy
  • Guided by the conviction that every American deserves clean air and clean water, applies an intersectional lens to environmental issues; highlights the prevalence of toxic pollution, agricultural waste, and environmental destruction near minority communities and evaluates the impact on these groups when crafting policy
  • Functions as a liaison between advocacy groups, government, and business on environmental issues; believes the policy process should be transparent and informed by input from all key stakeholders
  • Views public-private partnerships as essential to reaching ambitious environmental goals and brings proven success negotiating private-sector-led cleanup projects

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