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President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Michael Regan, North Carolina’s top environmental regulator, to head the Environmental Protection Agency, a key element of his climate change policies, three people with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.
Regan, who would return to Washington to lead the agency he worked at during the Clinton and Bush administrations, has served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality since 2017.
His nomination is still subject to a final vetting process, which is not yet complete, the people said. The Washington Post, New York Times and Bloomberg also reported Regan was the leading candidate for the position.
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 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.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report.