U.S. EPA administrator contemplating stepping down -sources

G7 climate, energy and environment ministers meet in Berlin
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan arrives for the meeting of the G7 Climate, Energy and Environment Ministers during the German G7 Presidency at the EUREF-Campus in Berlin, Germany May 26, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse

Jan 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan is considering stepping down, according to four sources familiar with the matter.

Regan has been thinking seriously about departing and has been exploring options outside the Biden administration but has not made any decisions, one source said.

"No plans imminently, but I do know it's been on the radar screen for the past few weeks," the source said.

The EPA said Regan had no plans to depart.

"The administrator doesn't have any plans to step down. He's committed to continuing to advance President Biden's historic climate and environmental agenda," said Maria Michalos, an EPA spokesperson and one of Regan's top aides.

The EPA is the main agency responsible for environmental regulation, and Regan has been leading it at a crucial time in President Joe Biden's agenda to curb climate change.

The agency is expected to roll out complex regulations on power plant emissions of greenhouse gases and toxic pollutants in March. The agency must race to finish them in about 18 months, before the next general election.

The EPA, which has about 17,500 employees, is still suffering from the exit of many scientists and policy workers during the administration of Donald Trump.

Billions of dollars are flowing to the agency after last year's passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, for programs including the $27 billion green bank, which will offer grants to disadvantaged communities to deploy solar and other programs to cut emissions and provide jobs.

Regan, the first Black man to run EPA began designing the green bank in October.

The White House has been preparing for departures of senior staff, including at the cabinet level. White House chief of staff Ron Klain is expected to leave after Biden's State of the Union address in February, to be replaced by Jeff Zients, Biden's former COVID-19 response coordinator.

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw and Jeff Mason; additional reporting by Timothy Gardner, Editing by Gerry Doyle

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