Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

By Maithil Das, associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Senate committee has supported the nomination of Michael Regan President Joe Biden to head the Environmental Protection Agency, establishing a vote in the full Senate.

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee pushed Regan’s nomination by 14–6 votes. Four Republicans, along with South Carolina’s new committee member Lindsey Graham, joined all 10 Democrats to support Regan.

Regan, who has served as North Carolina’s top environmental regulator since 2017, will be the first black person to run the EPA. Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator in President Barack Obama’s first term, was the first African American to head the agency.

Regan is known for cleaning up industrial toxins in his home state and helping low-income and minority communities be affected by pollution.

Sen. Tom Tom, D-Del., Chairman of the environmental panel, called the right person to lead the EPA, citing his “experience bringing people together to address our most pressing environmental issues” And make sure no community is left behind. ” Process. ”

Biden is the environmental or energy nominee to receive the Regan Committee approval. Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan government official, was appointed as Secretary of Energy last week.

A third Biden nominee, Deb Heland, is yet to hear his selection to head the Department of the Interior. Two Republican senators, Steve Dens of Montana and John Barraso of Wyoming, have announced that they will oppose Congressmen from Holland, New Mexico. Both lawmakers expressed concern over Canada’s decision to ban new oil and gas leases on federal lands and the ban on the rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Dines said in a statement that he wanted to block Holland’s nomination on the Senate floor. “I am concerned with the support of congressmen on a number of radical issues that will harm Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America, including their support for the Green New Deal and President Biden’s oil and gas moratorium, as well As well as opposing the Keystone XL pipeline, ” Daines said.

Daniel said he was also concerned with Holland’s reactions to issues such as wildlife management and access to public lands by hunters and sportsmen.

Barraso, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement that Hollande’s “radical views are at odds with the responsible management of our nation’s energy resources.”

Citing his opposition to oil and gas production on federal lands, Barraso said that Hollande “must demonstrate that he will abide by the law, protect the many uses of our public lands and reject those policies” Which will bring energy workers to the limit of unemployment. ‘

Hollande, who was elected to his second term in November, is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe. He has been selected by Democrats, environmentalists and tribal groups as a landmark pick that would make him the first Native American to head a powerful federal agency that has influenced the nation’s tribes for generations.

The Biden administration has put racial equity, climate change and health at the forefront of its agenda, and Hollande’s selection “reinforces this commitment,” said Marissa Ramirez of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group. “He represents the promise of a new era for this country’s connection with his land, especially those who are often excluded.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich, a New Mexico Democrat who serves on the energy panel, said he was optimistic that Holland would make internal improvements “for fun” such as outdoor recreation, climate solutions, wildlife conservation, clean water and rural economic development.

“I am eager to support her confirmation so that she can work to protect our natural heritage for generations to come,” Heinrich said.

A spokesman for the Interior Department said that the “targeted stoppage” on new oil and gas leases on federal land and water does not affect existing operations or permits for existing leases, “which are under review and approval.” The order does not prohibit energy development on private, state or tribal lands.

Halland’s nomination is expected to be heard later this month.

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