Daniel Blackman

Daniel Blackman, who came up short in his bid to be the lone Democrat on the state Public Service Commission, has been appointed by President Joe Biden to oversee the southern region for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

This story also appeared in Georgia Recorder

The White House announced the appointment Thursday afternoon.

“Daniel brings deep experience in the region that will be an asset as we work to confront issues in overburdened and underserved communities, ensure public health protections for all, and make progress on our critical climate change goals,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in a statement. “I’m excited to have him working with us.”

Blackman came up short by about 34,000 votes in a lower-profile race on the ballot in January against Republican Commissioner Bubba McDonald.

The two Democrats who did emerge as the victors in the January runoffs, U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, celebrated Blackman’s appointment Thursday in a joint press release.

“As climate change presents a real and urgent threat to our country, Daniel has been a steadfast champion for environmental stewardship and creating opportunities for underserved communities across Georgia,” Warnock said. “EPA’s Southeast region will benefit from his leadership, and I thank President Biden for heeding the advice of Senator Ossoff and I in making this appointment.”

The post is based in Atlanta and oversees Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and six tribes for the EPA.

“I am honored to play a critical role in President Biden and Administrator Regan’s ambitious commitment to combat the climate crisis, reduce pollution, and to ensure more Americans can participate fully and equally in our economy,” Blackman said in a statement. “This includes bringing accountability and transparency throughout the region and working to fulfill President Biden’s environmental justice commitments.”

Blackman, who campaigned last year as a consumer advocate, is a former senior vice president for environmental affairs for Capitol Fortitude Business Advisors. A Columbus native, he has also served as chairman of the Georgia Chapter of the Sierra Club and board member for the ACLU. He lives in Forsyth County with his family.

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Jill Nolin has spent nearly 15 years reporting on state and local government in four states, focusing on policy and political stories and tracking public spending. She has spent the last five years chasing...