About EPA

About the Office of General Counsel (OGC)

What We Do

The Office of General Counsel (OGC) is the chief legal advisor to EPA, the federal agency with primary responsibility for implementing the nation’s environmental laws. These laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“Superfund”).

OGC lawyers provide legal counsel to EPA policy-makers, thus providing critical input to rules, regulations, and guidance documents that are promulgated and issued to implement the Agency’s statutory obligations. In addition, OGC attorneys shape national legislation affecting the environment, and address international law issues. Working with EPA headquarters and regional offices, OGC attorneys also provide legal support for the issuance of permits, the approval of state environmental programs, and the initiation and litigation of enforcement actions.

In addition, OGC lawyers, together with attorneys in the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, the Department of Justice's Civil Division, and local offices of the United States Attorney, represent the Agency in court challenges to agency actions (such as regulations), appeals of enforcement cases, and Supreme Court litigation. OGC lawyers carry out these functions not only with respect to EPA’s environmental programs, but also in connection with EPA’s day-to-day operations, including entering into contracts, awarding grants, managing property and money, protecting EPA's intellectual property, advising on eDiscovery, records, and information issues, and working with EPA’s employees.


Organization

Kevin S. Minoli, Acting General Counsel
Elise Packard, Acting Principal Deputy General Counsel
Erik Baptist, Senior Deputy General Counsel
David Fotouhi, Deputy General Counsel
Justin Schwab, Deputy General Counsel
Richard Albores, Associate Deputy General Counsel

The Office of General Counsel includes:

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Air and Radiation Law Office

What We Do

The Air and Radiation Law Office provides legal support for EPA to reduce threats to public health and the environment by cleaning up the nation’s air and dealing with radiation issues. The Air and Radiation Law Office provides support both in rulemakings and other activities undertaken by EPA's Office of Air and Radiation and in defending EPA's actions in court when the Agency is sued.

Phone: (202)564-7606
Mail code: 2344A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Air and Radiation Law Office is responsible:

  • Atomic Energy Act  
  • Clean Air Act  
  • Energy Policy Act of 1992 (Section 801 - Nuclear Waste Disposal)
  • Energy Policy Act of 2205 (Section 131 - Energy Star Statutory Authority)
  • Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA), amended by the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21)
  • Motor Vehicle Information and Cost Savings Act (Corporate Average Fuel Economy)
  • Noise Control Act
  • Nuclear Waste Policy Act  (as it relates to 40 CFR Part 191)
  • Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act
  • Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Land Withdrawal Act  

Air and Radiation Law Office Organization

  • Lorie Schmidt, Associate General Counsel
  • Gautam Srinivasan, Deputy Associate General Counsel

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Office

What We Do

The Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Office is responsible for providing legal advice and counsel regarding the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), including protecting the confidentiality of dispute resolution communications. It is the home of the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Center (http://www.epa.gov/adr), EPA's national office for ADR, providing environmental ADR services, training, and collaborative problem solving and public engagement expertise for the entire Agency. The office, headed by the EPA Dispute Resolution Specialist, has responsibility for national ADR policy and coordinating the Agency-wide network of ADR programs.

Phone: (202)564-2922
Mail code: 2388A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Office is responsible:

  • Administrative Dispute Resolution Act of 1996  
  • Regulatory Negotiation Act of 1996  
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Act of 1998  

Alternative Dispute Resolution Law Office Organization

  • Jeanne Briskin, Director and EPA Dispute Resolution Specialist

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Civil Rights and Finance Law Office

What We Do

The Civil Rights and Finance Law Office provides legal counsel and legal services to EPA offices with respect to civil rights, equal employment opportunity, contracts, claims by and against the Agency, real and personal property, financial assistance awards, interagency agreements, and appropriations law.

Phone: (202)564-2738
Mail code: 2399A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Civil Rights and Finance Law Office is responsible:

Civil Rights
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
  • Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1968 as amended, Title VI and Title VII
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX
  • Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972, §13
  • Rehabilitation Act of 1973, §501, 504, 505, and 508
  • The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008
  • Age Discrimination Act of 1975
  • First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Establishment Clause and Equal Protection Clause
Finance
  • Anti-Lobbying Act
  • EPA Appropriations Acts
  • Federal Claims Collection Act
  • Federal Tort Claims Act
  • Funding provisions of CERCLA (Superfund), Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Diesel Emission Reduction Act, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, Pollution Prevention Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act
  • National Environmental Education Act
  • Uniform Relocation Act
  • Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act
Procurement
  • Competition in Contracting Act
  • Contract Disputes Act
  • Federal Acquisition Regulation
  • Procurement Integrity Act
  • Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act
  • Prompt Payment Act
  • Federal Property and Administrative Services Act

Civil Rights and Finance Law Office Organization

  • Kenneth Redden, Acting Associate General Counsel
  • Wendel Askew, Acting Deputy Associate General Counsel

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Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office

What We Do

The Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office provides legal advice under the numerous federal statutes, Executive Orders, and policies that affect all of EPA’s programs, including the Administrative Procedure Act, Environmental Justice, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, Indian law and Children's Health issues. The Office also provides a focal point for international environmental legal expertise and advice. Finally, the Office handles legal issues arising in connection with the Agency’s scientific functions.

The Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office has three practice groups: Communities and Ecosystems, International Environmental Law, and Regulatory Issues.

Communities and Ecosystems: The Communities and Ecosystems Practice Group provides legal advice to EPA offices on the following matters: federal Indian law, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act, Environmental Justice, 5th Amendment takings of private property, and historic preservation.

International Environmental Law: The International Environmental Law Practice Group provides legal counsel to all programs and offices of the Agency with respect to international law, institutions, and procedures. In particular, it provides legal counsel on:

  • international environmental law;
  • trade, investment, and the environment;
  • the implementation of international obligations at the domestic level; and
  • issues involving transboundary pollution.

It represents EPA in international dispute settlement; in negotiations to draft and implement international agreements, protocols, and other instruments; and in interagency processes to resolve international legal issues related to the environment. It conducts legal capacity building activities with other countries regarding their environmental regulatory systems and provides legal counsel on cooperative and technical assistance to other countries.

Regulatory Issues: The Regulatory Issues Practice Group provides counsel on all administrative law matters relating to development of rules and guidance, as well as changes in interpretation; cross-cutting issues relating to judicial review (including final agency action, standing, ripeness,and standard of review); the Congressional Review Act; the Federal Advisory Committee Act; the Paperwork Reduction Act; the Regulatory Flexibility Act, including small business issues; the Information Quality Act; many Executive Orders, including interagency review; the Federal Docket Managing System; and legal issues associated with electronic reporting, collaboration and innovation.

Phone: (202)564-7622
Mail code: 2344A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Cross-Cutting Issues Law Office Organization

  • Carol Ann Siciliano, Associate General Counsel
  • Karin Koslow, Deputy Associate General Counsel

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Ethics Office

What We Do

The Ethics Office oversees all aspects of the Agency's ethics program, including the Standards of Ethical Conduct, conflicts of interest statutes, financial disclosure, ethics training and the Hatch Act. It is responsible for ensuring the high ethical standards of EPA employees. 

Phone: (202)564-1786
Mail code: 2311A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Ethics Office Organization

  • Justina Fugh, Senior Counsel for Ethics / Alternate Agency Ethics Official

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External Civil Rights Compliance Office

What We Do

The External Civil Rights Compliance Office (ECRCO), within the Office of General Counsel is responsible for enforcing several civil rights laws which, together, prohibit discrimination on the basis of:

  • race, color, or national origin (including on the basis of limited-English proficiency)
  • sex
  • disability
  • age

by applicants for and recipients of federal financial assistance from EPA. (Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, respectively.) ECRCO is also responsible for enforcing Section 13 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments of 1972 which prohibits discrimination based on sex under programs or activities receiving financial assistance under the Clean Water Act.

It is the duty of ECRCO to ensure that any entity that receives EPA funds comply with federal non-discrimination laws. ECRCO is the EPA program office designed to ensure that recipients of EPA financial assistance and others comply with the relevant non-discrimination requirements under federal law. If a complaint of discrimination is filed with ECRCO against a program receiving EPA funding, ECRCO processes it. 

Phone: (202)564-6245
Mail code: 2311A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

External Civil Rights Compliance Office Organization

  • Lilian Dorka, Director

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FOIA Expert Assistance Team Office

What We Do

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Expert Assistance Team (FEAT) Office advises on all legal issues pertaining to selected FOIA requests that have been determined to be most complex and/or potentially sensitive requests received across the Agency, and provides coordination/project management for those requests. 

Phone: (202)564-5771
Mail code: 2310A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

FEAT Office Organization

  • Becky Dolph, Director

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General Law Office

What We Do

The General Law Office provides legal advice to the Agency in the following areas: Information law, including Freedom of Information Act, Privacy Act and the Federal Records Act; Labor and employment law; and Intellectual Property law, including patent, trademark and copyright issues. The attorneys in GLO represent the Agency in administrative proceedings and work with the Department of Justice in representing the Agency in judicial cases in the areas referenced below.

Statutes for which the General Law Office is responsible:

  • Labor and Employment Law
  • MSPB and EEOC Matters
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Privacy Act of 1974
  • Federal Records Act
  • Trade Secrets Act
  • Federal Information Security Management Act
  • eDiscovery and eRecords Collection
  • Patent and Trademark Act
  • Copyright Act
  • Technology Transfer Law, including the Federal Technology Transfer Act, the Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act, and the Bayh-Dole Act  

Phone: (202)564-5323
Mail code: 2377A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

General Law Office Organization

  • Wendy Blake, Associate General Counsel
  • Charlotte Youngblood, Deputy Associate General Counsel

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Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office

What We Do

The Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office handles legal issues for the EPA programs that address pesticides and toxic chemicals, including implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act which substantially revised the Toxic Substances Control Act.  The office also handles legal issues related to pollution prevention and the Toxics Release Inventory, the program that informs citizens about toxic releases in their communities.

Phone: (202)564-5375
Mail code: 2333A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office is responsible:

  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, section 313 (Toxic Release Inventory)
  • Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act  
  • Food Quality Protection Act
  • Pollution Prevention Act
  • Toxic Substances Control Act

Pesticides and Toxic Substances Law Office Organization

  • Kevin McLean, Associate General Counsel

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Resource Management Office

What We Do

The Resource Management Office coordinates the management and administrative activities of the Office of General Counsel. The Office handles such activities as budget formulation and execution, OGC's strategic and organizational plans, information technology management, human resources, position management and classification, attorney and law clerk recruitment, training, space management, records management, procurement functions, payroll, correspondence, and law library services.

Phone: (202)564-8880
Mail code: 2311A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Resource Management Office Organization

  • Kraig Lattimore, Director
  • Terry Lee, Deputy Director

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Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office

What We Do

The Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office provide legal support for the Agency's hazardous and solid waste programs and cleanup initiatives. This includes counseling related to Superfund, the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), Brownfields, Federal Facilities, oil spills, underground storage tanks, and the emergency response program.

Phone: (202)564-7706
Mail code: 2366A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office is responsible:

  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) - all sections except Section 313 (Toxics Release Inventory)
  • Oil Pollution Act  
  • Clean Water Act Section 311

Solid Waste and Emergency Response Law Office Organization

  • John Michaud, Associate General Counsel
  • Jen Lewis, Deputy Associate General Counsel

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Water Law Office

What We Do

The Water Law Office provides legal support for Agency programs that ensure drinking water is safe, that restore and maintain oceans, watersheds, and their aquatic ecosystems to protect human health, support economic and recreational activities, and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.

Phone: (202)564-7700
Mail code: 2355A | EPA mailing addresses
Location: EPA Headquarters at Washington, D.C. Federal Triangle campus

Statutes for which the Water Law Office is responsible:

  • Clean Water Act
  • Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Marine Protection Research and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) also known as the Ocean Dumping Act

Water Law Office Organization

  • Steven Neugeboren, Associate General Counsel

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