Biden close to naming North Carolina regulator to EPA

Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Jennifer Jacobs

North Carolina’s top environmental regulator, Michael Regan, is Joe Biden’s leading candidate to head the EPA though the president-elect has not yet made a final decision, according to a people familiar with the matter.

Regan’s lead role comes after weeks of deliberations and as concerns about some candidates’ confirmation chances prompted transition officials to shuffle the lineup of contenders to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Michael Regan

Regan is in the final stages of being vetted for the role, according to people familiar with the matter. Biden interviewed Regan for the EPA administrator post on Tuesday, according to a separate person familiar with the deliberations.

Spokespeople for the Biden-Harris transition did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Regan has drawn scrutiny from some environmental activists and property owners in North Carolina for his handling of natural gas pipelines in the state. Under Regan, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality blocked a certification critical to constructing an extension of the Mountain Valley Pipeline in August. However, Regan issued a water quality certification for the Atlantic Coast pipeline, which has since been abandoned.

Biden’s advisers decided to widen the pool of potential EPA picks after concerns were raised about the Senate confirmation chances and environmental justice record of a once-favored candidate, Mary Nichols. In addition to Regan, other possibilities have included Richard Revesz, a former dean of the New York University School of Law and National Wildlife Federation president Collin O’Mara. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also has been under consideration in recent days.