Michael Regan, the new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, has confirmed that new climate regulations are a top priority for a once embattled agency. Regan says he is tasked with “rebuilding the morale” at an agency that was the target of many of former President Donald Trump’s rollbacks.
“I hope that EPA will be remembered in four years for righting the ship and really making significant strides on lowering the emissions from greenhouse gases, protecting our water quality, doing it in a way where we’re creating lots of jobs in a fair and equitable manner,” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
“If we can right this ship and start to achieve those goals and do it in a way with a rising tide for all communities in this country, I think we’ll be off to a good start,” he added.
Regan noted that the agency will look into the Trump administration’s rollback of tailpipe emissions rules for new cars and trucks. It will also investigate the Trump administration’s move to revoke California’s authority to set its own fuel-efficiency standards for automobiles.
“I’m definitely a fan of statutory authority, and states’ rights and autonomy,” Regan said. “The transportation sector is very important in our greenhouse gas goals.”
Regan acknowledged that there is significant work ahead.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, starting with rebuilding the staff morale and getting all of our staff back to feeling as if they matter, their voices matter. We really have to restore the scientific integrity and the utilization of data, of facts, as we move forward and make some very important decisions.”
Regan was confirmed by the Senate last week with a bipartisan confirmation vote of 66 to 34. He is the first Black man to lead the EPA.
“Our priorities for the environment are clear: we will restore the role of science and transparency at EPA. We will support the dedicated and talented career officials. We will move with a sense of urgency on climate change, and we will stand up for environmental justice and equity,” he said in remarks during his confirmation hearing last month.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.