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Earthjustice is a nonprofit in the business of building a better future. We’re here because the earth needs a good lawyer.

What You Need to Know About Michael Regan and the EPA

On March 10, the Senate confirmed Michael S. Regan as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Earthjustice looks forward to working with Regan and an EPA that values people, not profit. After four years of destructive policies, EPA needs a bold leader who respects science, will tackle the climate crisis, and advocates for robust enforcement of strong standards that truly protect the nation’s air, water, and public health. 

Regan is a seasoned environmental advocate and leader.

  • “Michael Regan has dedicated his career to environmental work, advancing clean energy, fighting climate change, and addressing coal ash pollution,” says Earthjustice President Abigail Dillen.
  • Regan previously held the top post at the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
  • He is a former associate vice president for clean energy and Southeast regional director at the Environmental Defense Fund. He also served under the Environmental Protection Agency’s air quality and energy programs for the Clinton and Bush administrations.

The EPA is the nation’s top enforcer of laws that protect public health and the environment.

  • The EPA works to ensure people have clean air, land and water, through foundational environmental laws like the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.
  • The EPA is charged with defending the health and environment of the American people, mainly through enforcing national standards on harmful pollutants and overseeing containment of hazardous waste (e.g. oil and chemical spills). It also reviews marketplace chemicals for public safety.
  • Transparency is a key part of EPA’s mission. The agency functions as an investigative and research body that releases science-based information on emissions, industry pollution, or chemicals to warn the public about risks.

Under Regan, the EPA must take on toxic chemicals, restore critical environmental laws, and tackle the climate crisis.

  • The EPA must adopt stricter standards for chemical pollution, including rigorous monitoring of industry and vigilant enforcement that protects affected communities.
  • The agency must also restore and uphold the National Environmental Policy Act, which gives the public a voice in environmental decision-making. The Trump administration weakened NEPA in ways that benefit corporations.
  • As the climate crisis rapidly worsens, Regan must pursue a bold and equitable transition to a pollution-free, 100 percent clean energy economy. This transition must prioritize the low-income communities and communities of color who bear the brunt of climate change and pollution. 

The EPA is critical to Earthjustice’s mission.

  • Earthjustice needs robust environmental rules to hold violators accountable in court and ensure that public health and the environment are protected.
  • We work with, and if necessary, challenge the EPA to make sure that rules safeguarding our air, water, and environment are revised when needed, or kept strong when attacked by industry.
  • For the last four years, Earthjustice held the line and filed more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration, the most anti-environmental administration in at least 50 years. We welcome working with an EPA that will return to its core mission: to truly protect the environment that we all depend on.