Stephen A. Owens, who led the US Environmental Protection Agency’s programs on chemicals and pesticides under President Obama and is a former director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, has joined Squire, Sanders & Dempsey.
Owens served as EPA Assistant Administrator in charge of the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety & Pollution Prevention from 2009 until November 30, 2011. He was director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) from 2003 until 2009 and was the longest-serving director in ADEQ’s history. He began his career as an aide to former US Vice President Al Gore during Gore’s tenure in the US Congress and US Senate before practicing environmental law in Phoenix.
“Steve is one of the best-known and well-respected professionals working in the field today,” said Karen A. Winters, head of Squire Sanders environmental, safety & health practice. “Our clients will benefit from his exceptional understanding of an increasingly complex regulatory environment.”
During his tenure with the US EPA, Owens oversaw the nation’s regulatory and scientific programs for products regulated by federal statutes such as the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), among others. He was also responsible for many of EPA’s collaborative pollution prevention programs. As ADEQ head, Owens directed agency operations and set agency policy on all matters.
“In addition to an exemplary career in state and federal government, Steve has served on several major state, national and international commissions and has been a leader in key environmental organizations,” said John Welch, Phoenix office managing partner.
Owens said Squire Sanders’ growing global environmental practice was a key factor in his decision to join the firm. The practice has expanded as a result of two combinations completed in 2011 that added lawyers in Australia and the UK.
“Few firms can match Squire Sanders’ ability to advise clients on the local and global aspects of this highly regulated area,” Owens said.
At Squire Sanders, Owens will focus on national chemical regulatory and climate change/clean energy issues in addition to representing Arizona and Western business and municipal clients on a wide range of federal and state environmental matters.