Michael Regan Voted In As New EPA Head; Gets Positive Endorsement By Salmon State (Updated)

The Senate – with some bipartisan votes – confirmed the nomination of Michael Regan as the new head of the Environmental Protection Association. And with the Pebble Mine engaged in an appeal process, the mine’s opposition seems optimistic about Regan’s appointment.

Here’s reaction from SalmonState:

ANCHORAGE—SalmonState applauds the confirmation of EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, who has assured Americans he will restore the role of science at the Environmental Protection Agency. SalmonState also thanks Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted to confirm Regan. The confirmation is a win for Bristol Bay, the world’s greatest sockeye salmon run, which the Obama EPA was working to protect from the proposed Pebble Mine — a massive, open-pit mine and toxic waste dump planned for Bristol Bay’s headwaters. 

After a closed-door meeting with then Pebble CEO Tom Collier in 2017, Trump’s then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed course, which led to the stripping of the previous EPA’s science-based proposed protections in 2019. This revocation was answered by widespread bipartisan outcry in defense of this incredible place. President Biden, as well, has affirmed that Bristol Bay is “no place for a mine.”

“Tribes, fishermen and Alaskans have made crystal clear that the only way to protect the world’s greatest sockeye salmon run, as well as the way of life, culture, jobs and ecosystem it supports, is for the EPA to use its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act to veto Pebble Mine,” said SalmonState Executive Director Tim Bristol. “We look forward to working with Administrator Regan to finish the job that the Obama/Biden Administration started.”

UPDATE: Here’s more reaction from the Salmon Habitat Information Program:

Juneau, AK: Fishermen statewide support the US Senate action today voting to confirm Michael Regan as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator by a vote of 66 – 34. Regan will have significant influence over federal policy on issues of utmost importance to Alaskan fishermen, especially the proposed Pebble Mine, the future of Bristol Bay region, and federal climate change policy. Fishermen at The Salmon Habitat Information Program (SHIP) supported Regan’s confirmation. SHIP has been working with Alaska Commercial Fishermen for many years to advocate for sustainable fisheries and habitat conservation. According to the Alaska Resource Development Council commercial fishing in Alaska supports more than 16,300 Alaskan jobs and generates more than $2 Billion annually for local communities. 

“Senator Murkowski stepped up for Alaska’s commercial fisheries today with her vote to confirm Michael Regan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Like many Alaskans, fishermen have had a hard year. Moving forward, it’s crucial we have leaders who understand science and the many environmental threats facing our industry,” said commercial salmon fisherman and SHIP spokesman Tyson Fick.

“One thing you can count on Senator Sullivan for is to put party politics over the needs of Alaska’s commercial fishermen. Aside from his ocean clean-up bill, I have gotten used to him being a reliable vote against the sustainability of our fisheries,” he said. 

The Salmon Habitat Information Program (SHIP) is the Alaskan commercial fishermen’s source for Information and Action on the health of salmon runs we depend on.