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Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox to step down at EPA

  • Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox to step down at EPA
    Radhika Fox, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency. Credit: Environmental Protection Agency

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U.S. EPA
United States Environmental Protection Agency. The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.

After serving three years at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water Radhika Fox announced that she will depart the agency at the end of February 2024.

Appointed by President Biden and confirmed with robust bipartisan support by the U.S. Senate, Assistant Administrator Fox spearheaded EPA’s successful agenda to protect American communities from water pollution while embedding equity and environmental justice across its Office of Water programs. Fox has led EPA’s effort to implement billions of dollars of funding secured by President Biden under his Investing in America agenda to tackle water pollution from lead and PFAS, while advancing regulations to ensure every American has access to clean and safe water and can enjoy America’s natural resources.

Assistant Administrator Fox is the first woman of color and the first person of Asian American descent to lead EPA’s Office of Water. 

“Radhika’s impact on protecting clean water for all will be felt across this country for decades to come,” said Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Radhika’s vision, strategy, and tenacity to deliver on President Biden’s ambitious agenda has been nothing short of transformational. Radhika is the first woman of color to lead the Office of Water, a shining example of President Biden’s commitment to build an administration that reflects the diversity of the nation.”

“It has been the greatest honor of my career to lead the Office of Water under the incredible leadership of Administrator Regan and with a talented team of career leaders here in Washington and across our 10 EPA regions,” said Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. “I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished to ensure that every American can rely on clean and safe water, which provides a foundation for healthy communities and thriving economies. The partnerships we’ve established, the science-based regulations we’ve issued, and the federal funding we’ve invested will benefit generations to come.”

At EPA, Assistant Administrator Fox was the driving force in implementation of the water pillar of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — which includes $50 billion in funding for water projects — the single largest federal investment in the water sector. Under Fox’s leadership, EPA has provided over $13 billion to states, territories, Tribes, and local communities, supporting over 2,600 water infrastructure projects. The full suite of water funding and financing programs have been a powerhouse delivering for the American people — over $45 billion in water funding has been deployed during her tenure.

Other highlights of Assistant Administrator Fox’s tenure include:

  • Recognizing that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law presents a historic opportunity to change the odds for the millions of vulnerable Americans living without clean and safe water, Fox designed and launched WaterTA. This landmark initiative is investing $500 million to support underserved communities across America to build their technical, financial, and managerial capacity to secure federal infrastructure funding. By the end of 2024 alone, EPA will support 1,500 underserved communities through newly designed technical assistance initiatives like Get The Lead OutClosing the Wastewater Access GapEnvironmental Finance Centers, and related initiatives.
  • Fox led a robust regulatory agenda to restore and advance critical public health protections, including the first national standard for PFAS in drinking water, the Lead and Copper Rule Improvements, Waters of the United States, the Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Rule, and more.
  • Fox served as co-chair of the PFAS Executive Council and led the development of the Agency’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap — laying out a whole-of-agency approach to addressing PFAS. The roadmap sets timelines by which EPA plans to take specific actions and commits to bolder new policies to safeguard public health, protect the environment, and hold polluters accountable.
  • Fox has also been a fierce champion for protecting and restoring oceans and coastal ecosystems. She spearheaded the Final Determination under the Clean Water Act to help protect Bristol Bay, home to 25 Alaska Native villages and the most productive wild salmon ecosystem in the world, with an economic value estimated at more than $2.2 billion and resulting in 15,000 jobs annually.
  • As part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, Fox also supercharged EPA’s Geographic and National Estuary Programs — overseeing $2 billion in investments in treasured water bodies from the Chesapeake Bay, to the Great Lakes, to Puget sound.
  • President Biden committed to strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship with Tribal Nations and upholding the United States’ federal trust responsibility in Indian country. Fox has been a driving force to deliver on this commitment — creating the first ever Tribal Water Action Plan for the EPA, and delivering hundreds of millions in dedicated water funding to Indian Country and Alaska Native Villages during her tenure.

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