During his Feb. 3 confirmation hearing, EPA administrator nominee Michael S. Regan focused on a handful of issues, including his plans to rebuild the agency and to focus on environmental justice. His plans include the appointment of new justice officials in each of its regulatory offices who would focus on air, water and land pollution. A fourth official in each office would be responsible for chemical safety.
Regan also plans to appoint an environmental justice adviser to the EPA administrator, he told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
One area of priority in terms of chemicals, Regan said, will be per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In his job as head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan has dealt with PFAS-related issues including tainted drinking water and cleanup by a chemical maker, writes Chemical & Engineering News. Regan wants to set limits on PFAS in drinking water and wants the EPA to establish thresholds on allowable industrial releases of these chemicals.
Biofuels is another area expected to be a focus for Regan’s EPA. Farm state senators in both parties have fought with the EPA over its handling of the renewable fuel standard. “The biofuel mandate often pits powerful interests like oil and agriculture against each other,” writes E&E News.
President Joe Biden jumped immediately into the climate fray on day one of his job, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement and announcing plans to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from the grid by 2035 and ensure the country is on a solid path to net-zero emissions by 2050.