Top California air, climate regulator Mary Nichols hopes to run Biden EPA

Over four decades, Mary Nichols has been the regulator behind some of the nation’s most ambitious climate policies and, in recent years, she’s been their staunchest defender against President Donald Trump’s effort to dismantle them, according to an Associate Press report.

With Joe Biden heading to the White House, Nichols hopes she is not done yet.

Nichols, 75, ends her second tenure as chair of the California Air Resources Board next month, a job that’s made her the top air and climate regulator for the nation’s most populous and economically influential state. She is viewed as a leading contender to be named as Biden’s administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Heather McTeer Toney, senior director of Moms Clean Air Force, and Mustafa Santiago Ali of the National Wildlife Federation, both former EPA officials, also have support for the job. Biden has signaled climate change will be a top priority.

For Nichols, it would cap a career of championing stringent air pollution rules, negotiating landmark vehicle emissions standards and implementing California’s carbon trading system. She worked at the EPA from 1993 to 1997 as head of the Office of Air and Radiation.

“Not everybody has actually run a climate action program, or an air program for that matter. And I like working with large bureaucracies,” Nichols told The Associated Press. “If they offered it, I would take it.”

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