McConnell says he will vote against Regan’s EPA nomination

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., speaks during a news conference following a Republican policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech on Wednesday he was opposing N.C. Dept. of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan’s nomination to become the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“After we confirm Congresswoman Fudge and Judge Garland, the Senate will consider two nominees I will not be supporting. They’d both report straight to the front lines of the new Administration’s left-wing war on American energy. They’d work to unbalance the balancing act between conservation and the economic comeback we badly need,” McConnell said.

“To head the Environmental Protection Agency, the President has nominated Michael Regan, a longtime regulator and activist. Mr. Regan has plenty of experience. The problem is what he’s poised to do with it.”

McConnell said Regan and the administration are prepared to put their experience behind “the same far-left policies” that crushed jobs and prosperity in states like Kentucky throughout the Obama Administration.

“The Clean Power Plan? Back on the table. The absurd Waters of the United States rule? Back on the table,” McConnell added.

While McConnell is opposing Regan’s nomination, North Carolina’s two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, have supported Regan’s nomination and introduced him during his Senate nomination hearings in early February.

Burr called Regan “extremely qualified,” while Tillis said Regan was someone lawmakers “can rely on to be fair.”

The Senate invoked a cloture motion on Wednesday afternoon by a 70-30 vote, setting up a final floor vote to confirm Regan to the post.

In an emailed statement to North State Journal, Tillis reiterated his support for Regan.

“Michael Regan has a strong record of service to the state of North Carolina, earning a reputation for being a thoughtful, engaging, and well-qualified leader through his work with the EPA, the Environmental Defense Fund, and as Secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality,” said Tillis. “I am proud to support Secretary Regan for Administrator of the EPA, which I conveyed last month when I had the honor to introduce him before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. I have no doubt he will do a great job and serve our country well.”

The Republican leader also criticized U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland’s (D-NM) nomination to lead the Department of the Interior. McConnell said she was an original co-sponsor of the Green New Deal and vowed to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

“We have every reason to believe that voting for Mr. Regan and Representative Haaland would be voting to raise gas prices for families who are already struggling… voting to raise fuel and heating bills for seniors on a fixed income… voting to take the tough times we’ve been going through and make them even tougher. I’ll be voting for American families, and against both of their nominations,” he said at the end of his remarks.

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Matt Mercer is the editor in chief of North State Journal and can be reached at [email protected].