By Nick Goldstein, vice president of regulatory and legal issues, ARTBA

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator nominee Michael Regan acknowledged the country “can’t simply regulate our way out of every problem we face” and pledged to listen to all members of the regulated community if confirmed to the Cabinet post.

Now secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Regan vowed to foster “an open dialogue rooted in a respect for science, a clear understanding of the law, and a commitment to building consensus around pragmatic solutions.” Read his Feb. 3 testimony at the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works confirmation hearing.

As head of EPA, Regan would be an integral part of advancing President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda. Regan would also be leading reviews of multiple regulations enacted during the Trump administration, including the Navigable Waters Protection Rule (NWPR), which replaced the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation.  ARTBA is currently supporting NWPR in federal court and believes it properly defines Clean Water Act (CWA) federal jurisdiction. Specifically, the NWPR recognized that roadside ditches were not regulated under the CWA while WOTUS reached the reverse conclusion.

Regan would also review recent decisions not to tighten federal Clean Air Act standards.  ARTBA supported these decisions, citing EPA’s own data which showed current standards were already achieving cleaner air.  Further tightening the standards, ARTBA noted, would place counties in danger of having federal highway funds withheld.

ARTBA will actively work with EPA as it begins to implement President Biden’s policy agenda and reviews rules passed by the Trump administration to ensure that environmental protections are balanced with our nation’s need for a safe and efficient transportation system. We will also continue reporting on the progress of Regan’s nomination.