Effective April 21, 2013, Randy Hill has been appointed by Acting EPA Administrator Bob Perciasepe to join EPA's Environmental Appeals Board. Randy is currently the Acting Director of the Office of Waste Water Management under EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water (Nancy Stoner). He'll be a terrific addition to the EAB with his amazing resume of experiences as a senior manager in EPA's major components, the Office of Water, the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, and the General Counsel Office. I am personally excited about his new role as he has been a friend and colleague for many years (since my Justice Department days), and I know him as an experienced, thoughtful, smart, and capable lawyer. He'll be joining the current set of EAB judges, Kathie Stein, Catherine McCabe, and Leslye Fraser.
The EAB is an internal administrative tribunal that allows regulated entities to seek review of administrative decisions, including permits and administrative enforcement actions, by various parts of the Agency. As the delegatee of the Administrator's final authority on such matters, its decisions are theoreticallystill subject to the review (and reversal) of the Administrator. However, as a practical matter, as far as I know, that has never happened in its 20-something year history. Thus, the EAB's decisions are the Agency's final word on such issues, before they might be the subject of judicial review.
Some have described the EAB as a type of environmental court/tribunal similar to environmental courts in other countries even though it is not part of the judiciary unlike the environmental court division in Vermont's state court system, for example. For additional background on the EAB, see Anna Wolgast, Katie Stein, and Timothy Epp, The United States Environmental Adjudication Tribunal, Journal of Court Innovation, vol. 3, no. 1, winter 2010; and Nancy Firestone, The Environmental Protection Agency's Environmental Appeals Board, Environmental Law, vol. 1, no. 1 (1994-95).