Senate votes to confirm Regan as EPA administrator

By Erin Voegele | March 10, 2021

The U.S. Senate on March 10 voted 66 to 34 to confirm Michael Regan as administrator of the U.S. EPA. Representatives of the biofuels and bioenergy industries have spoken out in support of Regan’s confirmation.

Regan most recently served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, a position he has held since 2017. He also previously served at EPA for nearly 10 years during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, holding several positions dealing with air policy.

Regan discussed several issues related to biofuels, carbon capture and storage (CCS), the Clean Power Plan and ACE rule during a Senate hearing held in early February. During that hearing, Regan said the Renewable Fuel Standard will be a priority for the new administration and stressed agriculture will have a seat at the table when it comes to President Biden’s climate objectives.

The Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas has welcomed Regan to his new role. “On behalf of the North American RNG industry we congratulate Administrator Michael Regan on his confirmation,” said Johannes Escudero, CEO and executive director of the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas. “We anticipate positive advancements under his leadership at the Environmental Protection Agency.”

 “Administrator Regan is committed to combating climate change, promoting green energy innovation, and job creation,” Escudero continued. “We share the same goals. Renewable natural gas is an important part of a comprehensive clean energy solution, and we are looking forward to working together to help decarbonize our economy and achieve a sustainable future.”

The National Biodiesel Board said it looking forward to working with Regan to increase biofuel production. "The Renewable Fuel Standard is a vital supportive policy for U.S. biodiesel and renewable diesel producers,” said Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs at NBB. “Every year, these fuels meet more than 90 percent of the RFS's goals for advanced biofuel production and use, achieving measurable reductions in transportation sector carbon emissions. As our industry pursues a vision to sustainably increase production over the next decade and support emergence of sustainable aviation and marine fuels, we look forward to working with Administrator Michael Regan."

Growth Energy congratulated Regan on its confirmation. “We congratulate Administrator Regan on his confirmation to a vital role in this administration as climate change continues to be at the forefront of the Biden agenda and as EPA reviews small refinery exemptions and other issues vital to the biofuels industry,” said Emily Skor, CEO of Growth Energy. Biofuels are a critical tool in achieving President Biden’s aggressive climate goals and the biofuels industry is ready to partner with Administrator Regan to decarbonize the transportation sector and bring the agricultural sector into the fold of addressing climate change. 

“Administrator Regan has been on the record supporting biofuels as critical to help meet an ambitious climate agenda, committing to following the letter of the law on the Renewable Fuels Standard, and pledging transparency on any small refinery exemption decisions,” Skor continued. We look forward to working with Administrator Regan on all of these policy and regulatory initiatives, and offering our organization’s perspective and high-level of expertise as he makes these decisions.” 

The Renewable Fuels Association has also welcomed Regan’s confirmation. “We congratulate Michael Regan on his confirmation and look forward to working with him to implement President Biden’s vision for a strong Renewable Fuel Standard,” said Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the RFA. “We were pleased to hear Administrator Regan say that agriculture and biofuels will have ‘a seat at the table’ as our nation tackles climate change, and we believe ethanol will be a critical component of the drive toward net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. In his previous position, Mr. Regan built a strong track record of listening to all stakeholders to find practical, science-based solutions to the environmental issues impacting the people of North Carolina. We welcome a similar approach to problem-solving as he takes the helm at EPA, and we appreciate the outreach he has already conducted to renewable fuel stakeholders. We are confident he will strongly uphold President Biden’s commitment to ‘honor the critical role the renewable fuel industry plays in supporting the rural economy and the leadership role American agriculture will play in our fight against climate change.’”

The American Coalition for Ethanol also applauded Regan’s confirmation. “We congratulate Michael Regan on his confirmation to formally lead EPA and look forward to working with him to address the long to-do list he inherits with respect to the RFS, including reining-in small refinery exemptions, restoring 500 million gallons remanded to EPA by the D.C. Circuit Court from the 2017 Americans for Clean Energy Inc. decision, and promptly moving forward on the 2021 and 2022 renewable volume obligations,” said Brian Jennings, CEO of ACE. “Other priorities we will be raising with Administrator Regan include applying updated lifecycle science showing corn ethanol can and should be part of the climate solution, moving forward with EPA’s E15 labeling and underground storage tank compatibility proposed rulemaking, and ensuring a role for midlevel ethanol blends in new fuel economy and emissions standards.”