New Haven, Conn. – President Obama has nominated Paul Anastas, Yale's Teresa and H. John Heinz III Professor in the Practice of Chemistry for the Environment, to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Office of Research and Development.
Anastas is currently director of the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale, where he holds joint appointments in chemistry, chemical engineering and the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. His research focuses on the design of safer chemicals and chemical processes to replace the use of hazardous substances.
"I am tremendously honored to be considered for this important position," Anastas said. "Strong science is at the heart of EPA's mission, and it is my highest priority."
Anastas previously served as chief of the Industrial Chemistry Branch and director of the U.S. Green Chemistry Program at the EPA, where he coined the term "green chemistry" in 1991. From 1999 to 2004 he served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, most recently as assistant director for the environment. He then served as director of the Green Chemistry Institute, headquartered at the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C. While there, he established 24 green chemistry chapters in countries around the world. He joined Yale in January 2007.
"Paul is the right person at the right time for this critical position," said James Gustave Speth, dean of Yale's School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. "We need a return to science-based environmental regulation, and Paul is the person to help lead that effort."
Anastas earned his B.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Boston and his M.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Brandeis University. He has written widely about science and sustainability, including his seminal work with co-author John Warner, "Green Chemistry: Theory and Practice," which outlines the 12 principles of green chemistry and engineering. He has earned numerous awards, including the EPA's Joseph Seifter Award; Canada's inaugural Green Chemistry Medal; the Greek Chemical Society Award; the Nolan Sommer Award; the Vice-President's Hammer Award; the Scientific American 50 Award; and the Heinz Award in the Environment.
Anastas will be on leave from Yale during his time at the EPA, but promised that the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering will continue to advance its research, policy and education initiatives toward the development and implementation of sustainable technologies that meet both environmental and economic goals.