Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan, is moving NC toward a cleaner future by urging the community to think of the energy grid as an iPhone -both accessible and multifunctional in nature. Just as an iPhone can easily accommodate many types of applications, the grid can integrate various renewable energy resources, like solar and hydroelectric, to reduce the reliance on coal-fired power plants. The gigatonnes of coal emissions produced from these plants damage public health and attribute to the rise in global temperatures. Regan seeks to help the state reduce its contribution to these emissions.
Regan has worked with both N.C Governor Roy Cooper and Board members in the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to implement the NC Carbon Emission Reduction Plan striving to reduce carbon emissions by 40% by 2025. The plan is “setting the foundation for where we are as a state and captures the footprint of every industry in North Carolina.” Regan shares.
In addition, Regan has created the Environmental Justice and Equity Advisory Board in order to aid in the implementation of environmental regulation. The board consists of 16 individuals, including two UNC professors who will help the secretary enact environmental legislation.
To UNC students seeking advice in the field of environmental quality and regulation, Regan says that the skills needed to secure a job in this industry include a little bit of everything. He believes that there has become a “social responsibility that companies pay attention to, [in which] there has to be a triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.”
UNC Class of ‘21