Biden to introduce key members of climate team Saturday

Biden has named New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary and former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as energy secretary. Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary if confirmed by the US Senate.
The President-elect has chosen Michael Regan, who runs the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, to be his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. If confirmed by the Senate, Regan would be the first Black man to hold that position. Biden also named Brenda Mallory, an environmental lawyer, to be his nominee to chair the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
The President-elect also named Gina McCarthy, a former head of the EPA, as his national climate adviser, and Ali Zaidi, a climate expert and longtime Biden adviser, to serve as deputy national climate adviser.

Granholm was the first woman to be elected governor of Michigan, and served two terms. As governor of Michigan, Granholm had worked closely with the auto industry, the dominant industry in the Great Lakes State, which could help Biden as he attempts to move the country toward electric vehicles. Prior to being elected governor, Granholm was elected as the state’s attorney general in 1998, and was also the first woman to serve in that role.

Haaland would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary if confirmed by the Senate. She is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, and also has Jemez Pueblo heritage, according to the biography on her congressional website. Haaland made history in 2018 when she was elected as one of the two first female Native Americans in Congress. Haaland represents New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, which covers most of Albuquerque. In 2016, Haaland traveled to North Dakota to take part in the protests over plans to build a pipeline underneath a key source of water for the Standing Rock Reservation. 

Regan would be the first Black man to lead the EPA if confirmed by the Senate. Regan has been serving as the secretary of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality since January 2017. The agency’s mission is to protect the state’s environment and natural resources. Regan previously led the Environmental Defense Fund’s efforts to combat the impacts of the climate crisis and air pollution, according to the state’s government website. He also worked at the EPA during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Mallory is the director of regulatory policy at the nonprofit Southern Environmental Law Center. She previously served as the executive director and senior counsel for the Conservation Litigation Project, which supports protection and conservation on public lands. During the Obama administration, Mallory served as the general counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She previously served as the acting general counsel and the principal deputy general counsel at the EPA.

McCarthy served as the administrator of the EPA from 2013 to 2017 under President Barack Obama. McCarthy was originally appointed by Obama in 2009 as assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. Prior to serving in the Obama administration, McCarthy was the commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. She has a career that spans decades across state and local levels working on environmental issues. Since January, McCarthy has served as the president and chief executive officer of the NRDC, a nonprofit international environmental advocacy group.

Zaidi currently serves as New York’s deputy secretary to the governor for energy and environment and chairman of climate policy and finance. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford University, and co-founded the Stanford-coordinate initiative Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy. Zaidi, who immigrated from Pakistan, has been a longtime adviser to the President-elect on climate matters.

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