Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, who serves on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is a member of the Senate Environmental Justice Caucus, released the following statement today after meeting virtually with Michael Regan, President-elect Biden’s nominee to serve as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
“President Trump and his administration made it their mission to bury and deny climate science, gut the EPA, and roll back critical health and environmental safeguards and initiatives—all so that their friends in the fossil fuel industry could line their pockets. Those irresponsible actions have undoubtedly put lives at risk, and the American people have had enough of this administration’s willingness to sacrifice public health and safety for megapolluters.
“Fortunately, President-elect Biden understands that climate chaos is not a far-off, distant problem that we can ignore. From wildfires that have leveled entire towns in Oregon, to a deluge of extreme winter storms, floods, and hurricanes across the Midwest, Gulf Coast, and Northeast, Americans are already paying the price for this crisis. And we’ve seen time and time again that communities of color are disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis’ catastrophic impacts, making existing, unacceptable inequities in our society even worse.
“We need to protect the health, well-being, and security of our country and our economy by tackling this emergency head on. That means developing decisive plans to slash the harmful pollution driving the crisis, restoring the health of our coastal ecosystems, and eliminating the production of harmful plastics. I appreciated the chance to meet with Mr. Regan today to discuss these priorities, and believe his service to the EPA and the American people under multiple administrations, as well as his experience as Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, have prepared him to be a strong leader as we transition away from fossil fuels. I look forward to continuing to work with him throughout his confirmation process.”