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After Senate Rejection, Cooper Picks New Environment Leader

 Elizabeth Biser has been named Gov. Roy Cooper's new secretary for the environment.
Elizabeth Biser has been named Gov. Roy Cooper's new secretary for the environment.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper named on Thursday a longtime legislative lobbyist and environmental policy adviser as his next secretary for the environment, after the state Senate did not confirm his previous choice.

Elizabeth Biser, who's been operating her own consulting business and working for a national group that promotes recycling, also will be subject to formal scrutiny by senators.

Senate Republicans voted down Cooper's appointment of Dionne Delli-Gatti as secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality earlier this month, saying her reticence during her confirmation hearing about Cooper's natural gas policy disqualified her for the post. Cooper, who called the Senate's rejection baseless, immediately rehired Delli-Gatti as DEQ's clean energy director.

Biser has been most recently senior policy adviser for the Recycling Partnership.

Previously, she was a legislative liaison for DEQ's predecessor agency and later represented at the General Assembly groups like Environmental Defense Action Fund and Friends of State Parks, as well as businesses and trade organizations.

Biser "is a strong leader who has experience with this environmental agency and knows its critical work in North Carolina,” Cooper said in a news release. “I look forward to working with both Secretary Biser and Director Delli-Gatti to protect our air, land and water and ensure North Carolina’s transition to a clean energy future.”

Biser has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cooper wants a second-term replacement for Michael Regan, who was plucked by the Biden administration to become Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Delli-Gatti's rejection marked the first time a Cabinet appointment by a North Carolina governor received a no-confirmation result since the advice-and-consent law began as Cooper took office in early 2017.

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