Stephen Owens ’81 nominated to chair the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board

Stephen A. Owens, Class of 1981, has been nominated byPresident Joe Biden to serve as chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. Owens’ nomination was announced by the White House July 21.

Steve Owens, Class of 1981

Owen is currently a member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, having been appointed by President Joe Biden and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December 2021. Since being sworn in, Owens has worked to increase transparency and information-sharing by the CSB, identify ways to reduce the backlog in the CSB’s investigative reports, and increase collaboration and communications between agency leadership and CSB career professional staff and stakeholders.

Before joining the CSB, Owens practiced law in Phoenix, Arizona, focusing on environmental, safety and health issues, and also advising clients on a range of matters relating to chemical safety and safe chemical practices. He previously served as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, where he was responsible for overseeing EPA’s chemical regulatory programs. He also previously served as counsel to the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology, and chief counsel and later state director for then-U.S. Senator Al Gore (D-TN).

Before serving at EPA, Owens was director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, where he oversaw the department’s policies and regulations relating to chemical safety and hazardous substances, including responding to chemical hazards and other emergency situations.

Owens graduated with honors from Brown University. While earning his law degree at VLS, he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Explore Story Topics