Chairperson Steve Owens

Steve Owens was nominated by President Joseph Biden to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on April 29, 2021 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2021.  He began his post as a member of the CSB Board on February 3, 2022.  On July 21, 2022, he was nominated by President Biden to be CSB Chairperson and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to that position on December 13, 2022.

Chairperson Owens practiced environmental, safety and health law in Phoenix, Arizona, focusing on the safe production, management, distribution and use of chemicals and chemical safety regulations and requirements, prior to joining the CSB.

During the Obama-Biden Administration, Chairperson Owens served as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Chairperson Owens managed EPA’s chemical regulatory and scientific programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act and other statutes, and, among other initiatives, made increased transparency for chemical information and expanded public access to health and safety data on chemicals a top priority.

Prior to joining EPA, Chairman Owens was Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), where he oversaw the department’s policies and regulations relating to chemical safety and hazardous substances, including the department’s role in responding to chemical hazards and other emergency situations.  During his tenure, the department increased its emergency response capabilities and worked to ensure the security of potentially at-risk chemical facilities and other critical infrastructure in the State.    

Chairperson Owens was appointed to the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC) by President William Clinton, and he served on EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. While ADEQ Director, Chairperson Owens also served as President of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the national association of state environmental agency directors.

Chairperson Owens began his career as Counsel to the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House Science & Technology Committee, chaired by then-U.S. Representative Al Gore.  Chairperson Owens later served as Chief Counsel and then State Director for Senator Gore in the U.S. Senate.  Chairperson Owens graduated with honors from Brown University and received his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review.