EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has named EPA’s Office of Air official Jim Jones to serve as the acting head of the agency's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), which has the responsibility for regulation of pesticides. Steve Owens, the current OCSPP director, announced that he will leave the position at month’s end.

Jones, a 20-year EPA employee and the current deputy assistant administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation, started his new role on Dec. 1. Beyond his current role, Jones spent four years as principal deputy assistant administrator for OCSPP and six months as OCSPP's acting assistant administrator. He also previously served as director of the Office of Pesticide Programs.

President Obama has yet to announce a nominee to head OCSPP, a position that requires Senate confirmation. He might hold off on naming a new nominee until after the 2012 election, given the fight in the Senate over the President's candidate to head EPA's water office. Sen. Barrasso (R-WY) is blocking the nomination of Ken Kopocis to lead EPA's Office of Water, saying he wants the nominee to provide his personal views on the scope of the water law and explain his past efforts to expand the law's scope.