Environmental Protection

In 2002, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee reauthorized an ombudsman post within the Environmental Protection Abency (EPA). Congress originally established the EPA ombudsman in 1984 to receive complaints about hazardous waste. When the authorization expired in 1988, the EPA retained the ombudsman, but transferred the office to the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. The 2002 bill (S. 606) established an independent Office of the Ombudsman within the EPA. Under the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the ombudsman is authorized to render assistance, conduct investigations, make findings of fact, and forward non-binding recommendations to the EPA administrator.

Many individual states have separate offices for environmental affairs in which an ombudsman is available to investigate complaints of toxic waste or illegal hazardous material handling. However, a minority of states have independent offices dedicated for this function; most fall under the purview of other functions such as inspectors general.


Inside Environmental Protection