Governor Roy Cooper appoints Michael Regan to lead DEQ


The Advocat

Maryam Mohamed
  Staff Writer


On January 3, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper chose Michael Regan to lead the Department of Environmental Quality.


Michael Regan was sworn into office January 17, 2017.


Michael Regan has had a decade of experience working as a specialist with the Environmental Protection Agency. Additionally, Regan has worked under the Clinton and Bush administrations from 1998-2008.


Michael Regan is the second African American DEQ secretary since Howard Lee, who served from 1977 to 1981.


“Michael has demonstrated skills at bringing stakeholders together to create and enforce sound environmental policies,” Governor Roy Cooper said.


Regan began work on Jan. 9 and explained how he wanted to increase transparency while working under his newly appointed position, as well as consulting with members of the DEQ staff.


“My first goal is to look at the men and women who serve in DEQ. There’s a lot of expertise and passion, and I want to get their advice,” Regan stated. “I also want to work on transparency.”


Former Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Donald van der Vaart reduced his incumbent position from DEQ Secretary to a position in the air quality division. Ultimately, his decision was fueled by the fear of losing his job under Coopers administration.


Van der Vaart has been an advocate for ex North Carolina governor Pat McCrory. The McCrory administration was responsible for promoting van der Vaart in 2015.


Donald van der Vaart, along with the McCrory administration had previously sued the EPA over the Clean Power Plan, clashing with van der Vaart’s current EPA aspirations. Van der Vaart advocated for changing the state law to enact barriers on the solar power industry.


Environmental Defense Fund Senior Director Jane Preyer, voiced her opinion on Michael Regan and his work ethic.


“Regan will deliver pragmatic, science-based guidance to Governor Cooper as his administration works to protect our environment and boost our economy. His expertise and highly collaborative leadership style has earned him the respect of communities, businesses and government agencies,” Preyer praised. “He will be a strong advocate for the clean air, clean water and clean energy our state must have for a prosperous future.”


Spokesman Brian Powell also shared a similar opinion on Regan’s recent incumbency.


“This choice is a clear signal from Gov. Cooper that his administration intends to restore a philosophy of transparency, integrity and sound science to an agency that for the past four years has been led by those who too often put the interests of polluters ahead of the people of North Carolina,” Brian said.


Republican spokeswoman Amy Auth, stated that senate members will carefully review the new governor’s appointees.


“Members of the Senate will look forward to reviewing the qualifications of Gov. Cooper’s cabinet nominees and exercising their constitutional authority to vet them during the upcoming long session,” Auth stated.


“I want to appoint the very best people to serve and those who can bring people together,” Cooper concluded.

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