Skip to Main Content
Project on Government Oversight




EPA Ombudsman Office Background

January 1, 2001 


The Environmental Protection Agency's National Ombudsman, a position currently held by Robert J. Martin, independently investigates complaints against the EPA that have local, regional, and national significance.

The EPA National Ombudsman operates in the role of a classical Ombudsman, not only conducting investigations and making recommendations in connection with Superfund and hazardous waste sites, but also in alternate dispute resolution between the agency and complainants. In the course of an investigation, the Ombudsman holds public hearings, issues interrogatories and requests for production of documents, and makes non-binding recommendations to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA Management has followed roughly 80% of the National Ombudsman's recommendations, despite the fact that the National Ombudsman has often been highly critical of EPA decisions. However, while following the majority of National Ombudsman recommendations, EPA has consistently attempted to diminish the National Ombudsman's independence, and therefore, dissolve his ability to select complaints to investigate, investigate them, and issue recommendations. The General Accounting Office, which is Congress' investigatory arm, recently released a report concluding that EPA has not provided the National Ombudsman with sufficient independence. EPA's response to this finding, however, has been to further limit the National Ombudsman's independence.

The Project On Government Oversight's website contains many documents related to the National Ombudsman, National Ombudsman Investigations, and the continued struggle for independence. Please browse this site for more detailed information. 

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

# # #