Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Nominations of Stephen Owens to be Chairperson and Catherine Sandoval to be Member of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigations Board

406 Dirksen
Thu, 17 Nov 2022 15:00:00 GMT

Hearing page

Steve Owens was nominated by President Joseph Biden to the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on April 29, 2021 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2021. He began his post on February 3, 2022.

Owens practiced environmental, safety and health law in Phoenix, Arizona, focusing on the safe production, management, distribution and use of chemicals and chemical safety regulations and requirements, prior to joining the CSB.

During his appointment under the Obama-Biden Administration, Owens served as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), appointed by President Barack Obama. Owens managed EPA’s chemical regulatory and scientific programs under the Toxic Substances Control Act and other statutes, and, among other initiatives, made increased transparency for chemical information and expanded public access to health and safety data on chemicals a top priority.

Prior to joining 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 the department’s role in responding to chemical hazards and other emergency situations. During his tenure, the department increased its emergency response capabilities and worked to ensure the security of potentially at-risk chemical facilities and other critical infrastructure in the State.

Owens was appointed to the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC) of the North American Commission on Environmental Cooperation (CEC), by President William Clinton and served on EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee and EPA’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee. Owens also served as President of the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the national association of state environmental agency directors.

Owens began his career as Counsel to the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House Science & Technology Committee, chaired by then-U.S. Representative Al Gore. Owens later served as Chief Counsel and then State Director for Senator Gore in the U.S. Senate. Owens graduated with honors from Brown University and received his law degree from Vanderbilt Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Vanderbilt Law Review.

Professor Catherine J.K. Sandoval is well known in the world of academia for her research on telecommunications, antitrust, energy, and contract issues. She is a tenured member of the Santa Clara University School of Law faculty which she joined in 2004. She has had extensive experience as a leader in numerous government organizations, as well as in the private sector. In January 2011 Governor Brown appointed Professor Sandoval to serve as a Commissioner at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) which regulates energy, water, telecommunications, and rail services in California. The California State Senate unanimously confirmed her to serve in that post. During her term as a CPUC Commission, she was appointed by the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal-State Joint Conference on Advanced Telecommunications Services. She served as Co-Vice Chair of the Telecommunications Committee of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Prior to joining the academy, Governor Davis appointed her to serve as Undersecretary and previously as Staff Director of California’s Business Transportation and Housing Agency from 2001 to 2003. In that post she oversaw a wide variety of legal and policy matters affecting California’s infrastructure and economy, and advised the Secretary on energy, communications, and housing policy.

She has written numerous articles on Communications Law, Antitrust Law, Energy Law, and Contracts issues. In 2010 she won the SCU Public Interest and Social Justice Achievement Award in recognition of her legal scholarship.

Professor Sandoval was the Director for the Santa Clara Law Oxford University Summer Law Program in 2018. She twice served as the Director for Santa Clara Law’s Summer Program on Human Rights Law in San Jose Costa Rica.

Prior to joining the Santa Clara Law faculty, Professor Sandoval served as the Undersecretary, and previously as the Staff Director of the State of California’s 47,000-employee Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency. From 1994-1999 she was a senior manager at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and was the Director of the FCC’s Office of Communications Business Opportunities. She helped develop the FCC’s first spectrum auctions, worked on spectrum policy, and initiatives to increase opportunities for Internet, broadcast, and telecommunications service. In the private sector, she was the Vice-President and General Counsel of Z-Spanish Media Corporation, providing legal advice on media mergers and acquisitions, FCC regulatory matters, and Department of Justice merger approval. At the Law Offices of Munger, Tolles & Olson, Sandoval was an associate, focusing on business litigation including securities, contract, and labor matters. She clerked for Judge Dorothy W. Nelson on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals from 1990-1991.

Sandoval attended Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, the first Latina in the nation to receive this honor. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University, earned an M. Litt. in Politics at Oxford, and a J.D. at Stanford Law School where she served on the Stanford Law Review. She hails from East Los Angeles and lives with her family in the Silicon Valley.