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USA - Regan Rejoins EPA: A “Who’s Who” Guide to the Key Officials Who Will Shape the Agency

On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Regan as the next EPA Administrator.

  • On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, the U.S. Senate confirmed Michael Regan as the next EPA Administrator.
  • Although Regan and most of the Biden-Harris administration’s other high-level EPA officials have fairly limited private sector experience, they are known as seasoned, pragmatic leaders who bring substantive expertise to their roles.
  • Over the next four years, expect Regan’s team to oversee significant regulatory action and increased enforcement across all media, all while prioritizing environmental justice.

The bipartisan confirmation of Michael Regan as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) elevates a public servant with a wealth of federal, state and nonprofit experience. Regan is not alone: nearly all of the Biden-Harris administration’s EPA appointees and hires have experience on Capitol Hill and at EPA (many having returned from the Obama administration), state regulatory agencies, prominent environmental groups or educational institutions. Only a small number (approximately 15 percent or fewer) of the agency’s leaders appointed or hired to date bring notable private sector experience to their current jobs, and nearly all of those with private sector experience also spent time working for environmental nonprofit groups.1 While EPA’s new leadership generally is regarded as pragmatic and capable, their relative lack of “boots-on-the-ground” experience in the industries they now regulate has generated some concern among the regulated community.

Accordingly, businesses in industries most likely to bear the brunt of the transition to President Biden’s “clean energy” future—including those in the energy, agriculture, transportation and manufacturing sectors—must frame their positions in thoughtful, targeted ways based on science, law and innovation as they interact with EPA officials over the next four years. To facilitate those interactions, we have examined and summarized the experiences of the key EPA officials who will inform the agency’s policy and enforcement priorities.

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