For the second time, an African American is leading the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The first African American Administrator of the EPA was Lisa Jackson, who served under President Obama (learn more about her here). The second, and current, Administrator is Michael Regan.
Michael S. Regan was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, on August 6, 1976. His mother was a nurse and his father, a Vietnam veteran, spent a career in the North Carolina National Guard and also served as an agricultural extension agent. Regan grew up hunting and fishing with his father and grandfather, experiences that gave him the impetus for a career as an environmentalist.
He graduated with a B.S. in 1998 from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University with a major in earth and environmental science. He immediately went to work for the EPA in North Carolina, serving for a decade and rising to lead programs on air pollution reduction and energy efficiency. He went on to work for the Environmental Defense Fund from 2008 to 2013. He eventually became the Associate Vice President of U.S. Climate and Energy for the EDF. He left there and opened his own consulting firm. While working, he earned a Master of Public Administration from George Washington University.
In 2017, he was appointed Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. While secretary, he negotiated several high-profile pollution cases, including a settlement with Duke Energy to remediate coal-ash wastes at a cost to the company of more than $1 billion. He also created an Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory board to address long-standing issues related to environment blight in African American communities.
Regan left his position as secretary in 2021 to become EPA Administrator under President Biden. He was approved by the U.S. Senate 66-34, the bi-partisan endorsement fostered by North Carolina’s two Republican senators.
Influencewatch. Michael S. Regan. Available at: https://www.influencewatch.org/person/michael-s-regan/. Accessed January 19, 2023.
North Carolina Department f Environmental Quality. Michael S. Regan. Available at: https://deq.nc.gov/about/leadership/michael-s-regan. Accessed January 19, 2023.
US Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. Available at: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-administrator. Accessed January 19, 2023.