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About the Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
What We Do
The Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) is an independent office in EPA's Office of Administration and Resources Management. The Administrative Law Judges conduct hearings and render decisions in proceedings between the EPA and persons, businesses, government entities, and other organizations that are, or are alleged to be, regulated under environmental laws.
Administrative Law Judges preside in enforcement and permit proceedings in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Most enforcement actions initiated by the EPA are for the assessment of civil penalties. The Administrative Law Judges also conduct hearings and render decisions in appeals from determinations of the EPA's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in complaints of violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the EPA's implementing regulations at 40 C.F.R. Part 7. The Part 7 procedures and further information regarding OCR and the Title VI complaint process are posted on EPA's Civil Rights website.
All litigants before the Administrative Law Judges are offered the opportunity to resolve enforcement cases through alternative dispute resolution, with an Administrative Law Judge serving as a neutral mediator.
Federal administrative law judges are certified by the Office of Personnel Management and appointed in accordance with 5 U.S.C. § 3105. They have decisional independence pursuant to Section 557 of the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 557, which ensures the fair and impartial resolution of proceedings.
Decisions issued by the Administrative Law Judges are subject to review by the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB). An Administrative Law Judge's initial decision, which is a disposition of all of the issues in a proceeding, becomes the final order of the EPA within 45 days after service upon the parties, unless a party appeals to the EAB, or the EAB on its own initiative elects to review the initial decision.
Mail code: 1900R | View more information about OALJ's address (PDF)
Location: EPA Headquarters
- Chief Judge Susan L. Biro
- Judge Barbara A. Gunning
- Judge M. Lisa Buschmann
- Judge Christine D. Coughlin