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Senate confirms new Chemical Safety Board chair and member

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Washington — The Senate on Dec. 13 confirmed Steve Owens as chair of the Chemical Safety Board and Catherine J.K. Sandoval as a CSB member, returning a quorum to the short-staffed agency.

Owens assumes the role after serving as interim executive. He was nominated in July by President Joe Biden to succeed Katherine Lemos, who resigned that same month. In June, Sandoval was nominated to serve as member of the board.

The Senate confirmed the nominations by voice vote. Owens and Sandoval join CSB member Sylvia Johnson to fill three seats on the five-member board.

In a statement, Owens says he’s “honored” to receive unanimous Senate approval and “very pleased” Sandoval did as well.

“Board member Sylvia Johnson and I welcome Cathy Sandoval to the CSB, and we look forward to working with her as we work to rebuild and revitalize the CSB,” Owens added. “She will bring a wealth of experience and an important perspective to the CSB.”

Owens and Sandoval addressed questions related to their qualifications during a Nov. 17 confirmation hearing before the Senate Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee.

Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, hailed the confirmations in a press release.

“While small in size, the CSB plays a vital role in protecting workers and communities across our nation from industrial chemical incidents. 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.

“I congratulate them both and look forward to working with the Biden administration to fill CSB’s two remaining vacancies.”

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