Why California’s lead environmental official, Mary Nichols, will likely not run the EPA

The seal of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many people thought Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board, would be a shoe-in to lead Joe Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency. Now she appears to be out of the running. Photo by U.S. Government/Public Domain.

Tackling climate is a massive priority for President-elect Joe Biden, so there’s a lot of attention on who he’ll pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. One of the people thought to be a shoe-in was Mary Nichols, the head of the California Air Resources Board. Nichols helped pioneer California’s cap-and-trade program, and she was Biden’s top pick to head the EPA.

Nichols now appears to be out of the running — after dozens of environmental justice groups signed a letter criticizing her “bleak” record on environmental racism. Biden’s transition team is now scrambling to find someone else to lead the EPA.


Coral Davenport - New York Times reporter covering energy and environmental policy, and climate change - @CoralMDavenport

Madeleine Brand

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