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Confirmation Hearing for EPA Administrator

02/13/2021

Michael S. Regan, formerly the Head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, addressed priorities and issues in a February 3rd confirmation hearing.  His objectives are closely aligned with those of President Joseph Biden, as expressed in pre-election statements.  The U.S. has rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and the Administration intends to set the U.S on a path to eliminate carbon dioxide emission from the power grid by 2035 and ensure that the Nation makes progress to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

 

In his prepared statement and in response to questions, Regan noted that the contention over the renewable fuel standard and refinery waivers would have to be resolved.  He noted, “The biofuel mandate often pits powerful interests like oil and agriculture against each other.”

 

Regan is especially concerned over contamination of drinking water with polyfluoroalkyl substances.  Regan intends to set limits on PFAS in drinking water and to reduce industrial releases into the environment.

 

In order to carry out necessary functions, Regan indicated the need to rebuild the EPA after changes in structure and priorities were made in accordance with policies of the previous Administration leading to loss of both scientific and compliance staff.  He plans to appoint justice officials in each of the regulatory offices responsible for air, water, and land pollution with a fourth involved in chemical safety.  An environmental justice advisor will also be appointed.

 

It is evident that EPA will be active in preventing environmental contamination.  Scientific activity will accelerate, appropriate standards will be developed, and enforcement will be intensified during the current Administration. This will have implix=cations for both industry and agriculture.