Biden administration makes energy and environmental picks, begins confirmation process


white house

The Biden administration has set forth its slate of nominees for several key energy and environmental positions. The nominees include veteran regulators, former elected officials and statesmen, among others. Highlighted below are a few of the more consequential nominees.

Michael Regan, Biden’s pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has served as secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) for Governor Roy Cooper (D-NC). He played an important leadership role on the North Carolina Clean Energy Plan, which is designed to slash greenhouse gas pollution from the electricity sector to 70 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, foster energy affordability and accelerate clean energy innovation.

Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is the Biden administration’s nominee for energy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. Granholm’s experience with the Michigan-based U.S. auto industry is likely a nod to Biden’s agenda toward 100 percent zero-emission vehicles. She was also at the head of state leadership during the last economic crisis and worked with a split Michigan legislature to establish Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard and energy efficiency resource standard, net metering program and clean energy tax incentives during her time as governor. 

Richard Glick has been nominated to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, giving leadership and agenda-setting authority to the agency’s longest-running Democratic member. Glick is a former government affairs director for Avangrid Renewables and Iberdrola, and general counsel for the Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Veteran EPA regulator Gina McCarthy has been tapped as the head of the new White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy. Before leading the EPA during the Obama administration, she served as a state environmental regulator in Massachusetts and Connecticut for both Democratic and Republican governors.

Brenda Mallory is the nominee to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Since serving at CEQ under the Obama administration, Mallory has worked for the Southern Environmental Law Center. Under her leadership, CEQ could play a crucial role engaging with state and local governments, tribal nations and communities around implementation of initiatives on climate and environmental justice.

John Kerry has been named Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, creating a new cabinet-level position. The appointment of Kerry, not only as an additional diplomat but also as a sitting member of Biden’s National Security Council, elevates the issue of climate change to the highest echelons of government and indicates that the incoming administration intends to treat the climate crisis in a new and different manner than its predecessor. 

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