KU, UMKC graduate appointed EPA regional administrator for Kansas, Missouri

McCollister vows to implement strategy on climate change, environmental justice

By: - December 26, 2021 10:06 am
Kansas rivers provide recreation

Meg McCollister has been appointed EPA regional administrator in a four-state area that includes the meandering Arkansas River in south central Kansas as well as the states of Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. (Casey A. Pennock)

TOPEKA — The newly appointed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regional administrator for Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and nine tribal nations said she was prepared to move ahead with the Biden administration’s strategies on climate change and environmental justice.

Meg McCollister earned a law degree at University of Missouri-Kansas City and a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kansas. She has nearly two decades of experience serving nonprofits, working with candidates for public office and participation in public policy campaigns.

McCollister has expertise in environmental advocacy, health care access for low-income populations and community organizing.

She said the president and EPA had ambitious goals for addressing the climate crisis.

“I’m incredibly honored to be appointed as regional administrator for Region 7 to address environmental justice, climate change and also build resilience for our important regional industries,” she said.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced President Joe Biden’s appointment of McCollister to the Region 7 job based in Lenexa.

“Meg brings deep experience in community organizing and stakeholder engagement. I know she will ensure voices throughout Region 7 are heard on key issues,” Regan said.

McCollister moved to Sonoma County, California, after law school and served on the board of directors for Sonoma County Conservation Action and worked on environmental campaigns and in local government. After returning to the Midwest, she continued to serve as an adviser on environmental, health and social improvement initiatives as well as communication strategies.

Her appointment was in conjunction with Biden’s selection of Earthea Nance, associate professor of urban planning and environmental policy at Texas Southern University in Houston, as Region 6 administrator of EPA. That region covers Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana and 66 tribal nations.

She was formerly director of disaster mitigation and planning for the city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where she developed and implemented the city’s first approved plans for hazard mitigation, sustainability and green energy.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International. He has been recognized for investigative reporting on Kansas government and politics. He won the Kansas Press Association's Victor Murdock Award six times. The William Allen White Foundation honored him four times with its Burton Marvin News Enterprise Award. The Kansas City Press Club twice presented him its Journalist of the Year Award and more recently its Lifetime Achievement Award. He earned an agriculture degree at Kansas State University and grew up on a small dairy and beef cattle farm in Missouri. He is an amateur woodworker and drives Studebaker cars.

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