Wednesday, November 23, 2011

EPA Announces New Acting Director of Chemicals Office

 Jim Jones, a long-time EPA official, has been tapped by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to replace outgoing Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) head Steve Owens.  Owens is leaving his position to return to his home in Arizona where his family had remained during his time in Washington.

Jim Jones' appointment is as an "Acting" Assistant Administrator for OCSPP, and will remain in that position while President Obama determines who he will nominate to run the office permanently.  The permanent nominee would have to receive Senate confirmation and, given that Republicans in the Senate are already blocking even a vote on the President's nominee to head the Office of Water (i.e., Ken Kopocis), there is quite a bit of uncertainty as to when a nominee for permanent AA will be announced.  With Congressional Republicans voting repeatedly to inhibit EPA's authority and the major cuts in EPA budget expected due to the failure of the Congressional Super Committee to agree on spending reductions, Jim Jones could be Acting AA for a long time.

Jones has been with EPA for roughly 20 years and has served in many capacities, the most recent being as head of the Office of Air.  No word yet on who will be tapped to replace Jones in the air office while he is Acting AA at OCSPP.