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Former EPA Official Keehner Returns to Head Chemicals Office

April 1, 2022, 2:11 PM

Denise Keehner, a retired EPA official with experience in multiple agency offices that deal with chemicals, will direct the agency’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT) effective April 10, according to an internal email read by Bloomberg Law.

Keehner, who will fill a vacant position, is currently the assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

She retired from the Environmental Protection Agency in 2013 after 35 years of service in offices including OPPT, which oversees commercial chemicals, the Office of Pesticide Programs, the Office of Land and Emergency Management, and the Office of Water.

Michal Freedhoff, EPA assistant administrator of chemical safety and pollution prevention, underscored in her March 30 email Keehner’s familiarity with the nexus between the chemicals office and other EPA programs, her state experience, and her respect for staff.

“Denise believes that people are our greatest asset and that one of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to create an environment where people can learn, develop, and become exceptional leaders—whether in science or in public policy, regulation, and program management,” Freedhoff wrote.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pat Rizzuto in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Zachary Sherwood at; Chuck McCutcheon at

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