December 15, 2022

Senate Confirms New CSB Chairperson, Board Member

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Stephen A. Owens to be chairperson and Catherine J.K. Sandoval as a member of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).

Owens, who was confirmed as a member of CSB in December 2021 and began his term in February of this year, previously practiced environmental, safety, and health law in Phoenix, Arizona, with a focus on chemical safety regulations and requirements. During 2009–2011, he served as EPA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Owens was also director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality from 2003 to 2009.

President Joe Biden nominated Sandoval to be a CSB member in June. According to a release published by the White House, Sandoval is a law professor at Santa Clara University in California, where her focus is on energy, communications, antitrust, and contract law. “A regulatory and legal expert for more than thirty years and a safety leader for more than two decades, [Sandoval’s] interdisciplinary work advances infrastructure safety, reliability, access, and equity,” the White House stated.

Sandoval’s confirmation brings CSB’s board membership to three people: Owens, Sandoval, and Sylvia E. Johnson, who was confirmed as a CSB member at the same time as Owens. CSB is supposed to comprise five members who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Board members serve fixed terms of five years.

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, issued a statement about the recent confirmation of the CSB nominees.

“The confirmations of Mr. Owens and Ms. Sandoval come at a time when the CSB desperately needs leadership that can help the agency deliver on its important mission for the American people,” Carper said. “I congratulate them both and look forward to working with the Biden Administration to fill CSB’s two remaining vacancies.”

In a separate statement, Owens said that Sandoval will “bring a wealth of experience and an important perspective to the CSB.”

More information about CSB can be found on the agency’s website.