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.” Before joining the firm, Steve served as the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 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); the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA); the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA); the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA); and other statutes. As Assistant Administrator, Steve was also responsible for many of the 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), the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA), as well as 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. He later served as Chief Counsel for US Senator Al Gore.
Steve is a contributing author to Biotechnology and the Law (2nd ed.), published by the American Bar Association, and has been an expert technical reviewer for the National Academy of Sciences. He served as co-chair of the Western Climate Initiative (2007-2008), as chair of the Western Regional Air Partnership (2003-2009) and as a member of EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee (1993-2004) and EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee (2017-2020). 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. From 2006 to 2009, Steve was an officer and president of the Environmental Council of the States.