WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden hopes the environmental team he is set to introduce on Saturday will steer America toward greater action to curb climate change and protect the nation’s air and water.
Donald Trump’s presidency has been marked by efforts to boost oil and gas production while rolling back government efforts intended to safeguard the environment. The incoming Biden team will try to undo or block many of the current administration’s initiatives. There also will be an emphasis on looking out for the low-income, working class and minority communities hit hardest by fossil fuel pollution and climate change.
“I believe in this team, and together, we will show the world that America is once again ready to take a leading role in the fight against climate change,” Biden said when he announced the picks on Thursday.
The selections also help Biden fulfill his promise to assemble a Cabinet that reflects the diversity of America.
New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland would be the first Native American to lead the Interior Department, which has wielded influence over the nation’s tribes for generations. Former two-term Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is in line to be energy secretary.
North Carolina official Michael Regan, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first African American man to run the Environmental Protection Agency. Regan, the state environmental head since 2017, has made a name for himself by pursuing cleanups of industrial toxins and helping the low-income and minority communities significantly affected by pollution.
Biden’s nominee to oversee the Council on Environmental Quality is Brenda Mallory. The office oversees environmental reviews for virtually all major infrastructure projects and advises the president on major environmental issues. If confirmed, she would be the first African American to hold the position since it was created more than half a century ago.
Two other members of the team also being introduced Saturday do not need Senate confirmation. They are Gina McCarthy, to serve as national climate adviser, and Ali Zaidi, to serve as her deputy. McCarthy was EPA administrator from 2013 to 2017 during President Barack Obama’s second term.
Associated Press staff writers Ellen Knickmeyer and Matthew Daly contributed to this report.