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Federal Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Talks To KCLU News About Challenges, Goals

Heather Sumagaysay
EPA Administrator Michael Regan talks to KCLU's Lance Orozco.

Michael Regan says the agency is having to deal with environmental setbacks from the Trump Administration.

He’s a man with a huge task on his hands, trying to safeguard and improve the nation’s environment. It’s an even tougher task given the Trump Administration’s rollback of a number of environmental protections.

Michael Regan is the 16th Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

He took office in March and admits it’s been tough to have to circle back on some environmental concerns which most thought had been dealt with years ago. He talked to KCLU's Lance Orozco during a visit to Ventura this week.

"We inherited a very tough situation," said Regan. "For four years, the previous administration did not make progress on so many issues, on climate, on water quality, environmental justice. They buried science. So yes, there is a sort of reviving the patient scenario."

Regan's entire career has been devoted to the environment. His career started with the EPA. He rose to become a national program manager working on efforts to reduce air pollution and to increase energy efficiency. He then worked for the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund.

Regan was then tapped as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. When President Biden asked Regan to head the EPA, it was groundbreaking. He’s the first African-American man to head the key federal agency.

"We're really focused on rulemakings which target HFCs, which are highly potent greenhouses gasses. We're focused on tailpipe emission standards," said Regan. "California's been leading the way, but the federal government has stepped in and said we need to reduce these pollution," added Regan. "We're looking at a proposed rule in September on methane."

He said they have a very aggressive agenda. The EPA Administrator says one of his personal priorities is something that’s been a major issues on the Central and South Coasts, environmental justice.

Regan says the agency is using science and not politics to drive policy.

The EPA chief says stepping up to protect the environment doesn’t have to be a roadblock for the environment. Regan says it opens the door to new industries, and jobs.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.