Steve Owens focuses his practice on environmental, safety and health issues and has been recognized by the National Law Journal as an “Energy and Environmental Trailblazer”. From 2009 until November 30, 2011, Steve served as the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Assistant Administrator, Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention. Appointed by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the US Senate, Steve was responsible for managing US regulatory and scientific programs on pesticides and industrial chemicals including nanotechnology and biotechnology under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA); Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA); Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA); and other statutes. As Assistant Administrator, Steve was also responsible for many of US EPA’s collaborative pollution prevention programs and the implementation of the federal Pollution Prevention Act (PPA).
Prior to joining the EPA, Steve served from 2003 to 2009 as Director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Steve directed agency operations on matters including air quality, water quality, hazardous and solid waste, clean and renewable energy, climate change and children’s environmental health. Steve also served as chair of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona.
From 1988 to 2003, Steve was in private practice in Phoenix, representing clients on the full range of federal and state environmental laws, including the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA), Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), Clean Air Act (CAA), Clean Water Act (CWA), and Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA), and the Arizona Water Quality Assurance Revolving Fund (WQARF) and Arizona Aquifer Protection Permit (APP) laws. Steve began his legal career in 1982 as Counsel to the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the US House Committee on Science and Technology, and later as Chief Counsel and Tennessee State Director for US Senator Al Gore.
During 2012-2014, Steve was co-chair of Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton’s Sustainability Advisory Committee and also was a member of the Advisory Board of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law’s Center for Law, Science Innovation. Steve also has served as an expert technical reviewer for the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a member of Procter & Gamble Company’s US Sustainability Expert Advisory Panel (SEAP), which advised the company on sustainable business practices and products. He served as co-chair of the Western Climate Initiative (2007-2008), on the Executive Committee of The Climate Registry (2007-2009), chair of the Arizona Climate Change Advisory Group (2005-2006), chair of the Western Regional Air Partnership (2003-2009) and a member of EPA's Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (1993-2004). By appointment of President Clinton, Steve was a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (1999-2002), which addresses environmental issues under NAFTA. He was also co-chair of the Arizona-Mexico Commission Environment Committee, which addressed environmental issues on the Arizona-Mexico border. From 2006 to 2009 Steve was an officer and president of the Environmental Council of the States.