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Biden to nominate Rep. Deb Haaland to Interior, Michael Regan to EPA

If confirmed as interior secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., would be the first Native American in a Cabinet secretary position. File Photo courtesy of Deb Haaland for Congress/Facebook
If confirmed as interior secretary, Rep. Deb Haaland, D-N.M., would be the first Native American in a Cabinet secretary position. File Photo courtesy of Deb Haaland for Congress/Facebook

Dec. 17 (UPI) -- President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Rep. Deb Haaland as interior secretary and Michael Regan, North Carolina's top environmental official, to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, transition team officials said Thursday.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the news to The Washington Post, The New York Times and Politico.

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Neither nomination has been made official.

Haaland, who has represented New Mexico's 1st Congressional District since 2019, was previously the chairwoman of the state's Democratic Party and worked on President Barack Obama's re-election campaign. She is a member of the Laguna Pueblo tribe and if confirmed, she'll be the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet secretary position.

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As interior secretary, Haaland would be responsible for overseeing the management of federal land, natural resources and national parks. The department also represents the U.S. government's closest connection with the nation's 1.9 million American Indians and Alaska Natives.

Haaland issued a statement Thursday evening saying she's "honored and ready to serve."

"A voice like mine has never been a Cabinet secretary or at the head of the Department of Interior. Growing up in my mother's Pueblo household made me fierce. I'll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land."

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Regan has served as secretary of North Carolina's Department of Environmental Quality since January 2017. Before that, he worked for the Environmental Defense Fund, a non-profit advocacy group, and he was an air quality specialist with the EPA during the Clinton and Bush administrations.

Sources told the Times that before Biden settled on Regan as his EPA pick, he was considering Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board.

If confirmed, Regan will be the first Black man to lead the agency.

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He'll be central to Biden's plans to battle climate change, which includes rejoining the Paris Agreement, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, working to stop major polluters, particularly those impacting low-income areas and communities of color.

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) looks on as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Fudge, the first Black woman to lead the department in decades, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

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