Policy Update Feb 3, 2021

NPCA position on the nomination of Michael Regan as Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency

NPCA sent the following letter of support to the United States Senate ahead of the hearing to consider the nomination of Michael Regan as Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. In the last four years, as we witnessed weakened protection for cultural resources, wildlife, air and waterways, the highest level of protection was not afforded to these incredible places. We can and must do better. The Biden-Harris Administration must address climate change head-on, ensure the federal government – and the park system – is welcoming to diverse communities and reverse damaging policies that put at risk the water, air, wildlife and other resources that make our parks world-renowned.

No other federal agency outside the park service itself has as much role to play in protecting the air and water of our national parks as the U.S. EPA. The agency’s actions, which must be guided by the best science, help ensure that all Americans have clean air to breathe, clean water in which to fish and swim and safe, affordable water to drink. The agency also leads our nation’s effort to address the greatest threat facing our parks: our warming climate.

EPA has overseen progress in protecting and restoring our environment. Even with these results, our nation’s air and water remains degraded and too many areas of the country need to be protected and restored. Additionally, far too many Black, Latino, Indigenous and other people of color continue to bear the disproportionate brunt of our nation’s pollution, including the impacts of climate change. Any new EPA leader must tackle these issues head on by acting in the public interest and in accordance with nation’s environmental laws to protect public health and our environment.

Mr. Regan is well positioned to be that fair and measured leader. We believe his role leading the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and his previous work gives him the experience to manage EPA as an administrator who will fulfill the intent of its mission and once again use sound science to protect our park air and water and safeguard our communities. He is credited with reaching the largest coal-ash clean up settlement in the country and has focused on PFAS cleanups in state rivers. Importantly, he prioritized environmental justice, a top concern we expect him to carry to EPA’s headquarters. He was also instrumental in helping North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper enact his pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. His mix of experience also enables him to rebuild trust in the agency and move forward with the steps necessary to protect human health and the environment in every community across the nation.

EPA plays an important role in protecting and preserving the stories our parks tell. We look forward to working with Mr. Regan to ensure the best future for our national parks.