Regional Judicial Officers
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Judicial Officers perform adjudicatory functions under the Agency’s Consolidated Rules of Practice and act as Presiding Officers in other administrative matters of interest to the Agency. The Regional Judicial Officers are located in the Agency’s ten regional officers and report directly to the Regional Counsel for the region in which they are located.
Under the Consolidated Rules of Practice, the Regional Judicial Officer’s functions are bifurcated between the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and the non-APA provisions of the Rules. In administrative proceedings subject to the APA, the RJO serves as the Presiding Officer and rules on all motions made before an answer to the complaint is filed. In non-APA proceedings covered by Subpart I of the Consolidated Rules, the RJO serves as the Presiding Officer throughout a proceeding, conducting the hearing and ruling on all motions until an initial decision becomes final or has been appealed. See 40 C.F.R. 22.4(b), 22.16(c) and 22.51.
The Regional Administrators in several regions have delegated the authority to their respective Regional Judicial Officers to issue final orders approving settlements under 40 C.F.R. 22.18(b)(3).
If designated by the appropriate Agency official, the Regional Judicial Officers can also serve as Presiding Officer or agency neutral in various other proceedings not subject to the Consolidated Rules, such as hearings on RCRA Interim Status Corrective Orders (see 40 C.F.R. Part 24), CERCLA Lien hearings and public meetings.
Links to RJO dockets and decisions: