Updated: Jan 29, 2021
by Emily Lao and Dory Miller
Now that Biden has been confirmed as president-elect of the United States, he has started to put together a team of people who will be supervising his Climate Plan and executing future environmental policies and decisions. There are 6 main positions for which the Biden-Harris Administration already made appointments and nominations. Here is a brief description of each nominee or appointee.
Appointed as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator
Regan is currently Secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality In the past, he has served as the program manager for the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards. As the program manager, he worked on energy efficiency programs, regulation issues, and also renewable energy programs. He was highly regarded by the Sierra Club, although there are mixed opinions about Regan from advocates of frontline communities in North Carolina, where he originally worked. In this new position, Regan will help the Biden-Harris administration focus on environmental protections that were prevented under Trump’s presidency.
Appointed as Secretary of the Interior
New Mexico Congresswoman Deb Haaland is the first Indigenous Cabinet Secretary in American history. Previously, Haaland worked in congress and proposed a series of bills that sought to plant 4 billion trees and restore and conserve 2 million acres of coastal wetlands by 2030. She served on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and is an advocate of the Green New Deal. In this position, she will be in charge of the agency tasked with the care of 500 million acres (and 52 million+ acres of tribal land) and has stated that she will prioritize the rights of Native Americans. Like Regan, Haaland has also been praised by the Sierra Club.
Appointed as Secretary of Energy
Granholm is a former two-term governor of Michigan. She was previously the Senior Research Fellow at Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute as well as CITRIS. She was a faculty member for the Goldman School of Public Policy and taught courses on clean energy and innovation. In 2014, she launched the American Jobs project, which was a think tank on clean energy and jobs for a green economy. Granholm is also the second woman ever to lead the Energy Department and will help the economic aspect of 0 carbon emissions by 2050. She supports the auto-industry and will potentially supervise the rollout of more electric vehicles. Similar to Haaland and Regan, Granholm has also been praised by the Sierra Club.
Nominated for Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality
Mallory has had over 35 years of experience with environmental policy. She is currently the Director of Regulatory Policy with the Southern Environmental Law Center. In the past, she has held positions in EPA and the Obama-Biden administration. If Mallory is confirmed as the Chair of the Council on Environmental Quality, she will be the first African-American woman in that position.
Nominated for National Climate Advisor
McCarthy was formerly a leader for the Obama-Biden Clean Power Plan and was a professor for the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She received her Master of Science from Tufts University, and she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Currently, she is the President and CEO of the Natural Resource Defense Council, as well as the current Chair of the Board of Directors of the Harvard Center for Climate, Health, and Global Environment. If McCarthy is confirmed for the position of National Climate Advisor, she will serve for the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy.
Nominated for Deputy National Climate Advisor
Zaidi is currently New York’s Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment. He is an adjunct professor at Stanford University and a Trustee for the Natural Resources Defense Council. In the past, Zaidi worked in the Obama-Biden Administration as Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy and Science in the Office of Management, and also as Deputy Director of Energy Policy for the White House Policy Council. Additionally, he helped negotiate the Paris Climate Agreement and Co-Founded an initiative to provide pro-bono legal services to sustainable entrepreneurial start-ups.