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Legal Services

Our office provides general counsel to Ohio EPA's divisions and districts and evaluates, prepares and negotiates administrative enforcement actions.

Agency attorneys prepare trade secret claim determinations; prepare and review contracts; assist in the development or review of legislation and rules; and address public records request issues.

Legal Procedures

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) contains the authority for Ohio EPA inspectors, as authorized representatives of the director, to enter public and private properties to conduct inspections and investigations. For more information, see the Understanding Ohio EPA's Inspection Authority card.

Rule-Making Procedure

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) requires and authorizes Ohio EPA to adopt administrative rules. Rules are adopted pursuant to Chapter 119 and section 111.15 of the ORC, which become part of the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC). The Agency may also adopt internal management rules.

Adjudication Proceedings

Ordinarily, "actions" of the Director of Environmental Protection (which include the adoption, amendment or rescission of rules, the issuance, modification or rescission of most orders, and the issuance, denial, modification or revocation of permits and licenses) are issued as "final actions" appealable to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC). However, in some instances Ohio EPA is required, or chooses, to provide the person subject to an action an opportunity for a prior hearing. These instances will most often involve the denial of an application for a permit or license. In these cases, the Director will issue a "proposed action" that may be adjudicated before Ohio EPA's Hearing Officer.

An adjudication hearing on a proposed action of the Director may be requested by the person subject to the proposed action, or by any person who would be aggrieved or adversely affected by issuance of the permit in question, by the filing of a hearing request or objection within 30 days of issuance of the proposed action. The hearing request or objection is filed with Ohio EPA's Hearing Clerk in the Legal Records Section. The Hearing Clerk dockets the request and refers it to the Hearing Officer.

The first step in an adjudication proceeding is the scheduling of a prehearing conference by the Hearing Officer. The first prehearing conference will be scheduled to be held approximately four to six weeks after receipt of the hearing request, and will be attended by all parties to the case or their counsel (Ohio EPA will be represented by an Assistant Attorney General from the Environmental Enforcement Section). The purpose of the prehearing conference is to focus the issues in dispute, explore the possibility of settlement of the controversy, and discuss preliminary schedules for discovery and hearing if settlement of the case appears unlikely.

Most adjudication cases before Ohio EPA, as with most cases in any tribunal, settle without going to formal litigation. As long as all parties agree that settlement negotiations are being actively and productively pursued, the Hearing Officer will encourage efforts to resolve cases informally. If a case cannot be resolved informally, or cannot be resolved after six months, the case will proceed to a formal adjudication hearing.

Following the adjudication hearing and post-hearing briefing, the Hearing Officer submits a Report and Recommendation to the Director. The parties have an opportunity to file objections to the Report and Recommendation, and then the Director issues final Findings and Orders. This final action is then appealable to ERAC.

Appeal Process for Final Agency Actions

Final actions of the Director of Environmental Protection are appealable to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) pursuant to Section 3745.04 of the Ohio Revised Code. The ERAC is an independent commission whose three members are appointed by the Governor. The following is a brief summary of the appeals process. For more detailed information, please contact ERAC directly at 614-466-8950.

Generally, final actions may be appealed to ERAC by a person who was a party to a proceeding before the Director by filing an appeal within 30 days of notice of the final action. However, a final action issuing, denying, modifying, revoking, or renewing a permit, license, or variance, which is not preceded by a proposed action, may be appealed by persons who are aggrieved or adversely affected by filing an appeal within 30 days of issuance of the action.

Appeals to ERAC must be in writing, and must set forth the action complained of and the grounds upon which the appeal is based. Appeals must be filed with:

Environmental Review Appeals Commission
30 East Broad St., 4th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

The appeal must be accompanied by a $70 filing fee. ERAC, in its discretion, may reduce the filing fee if by affidavit it is demonstrated that payment of the full amount of the fee would cause extreme hardship.

Notice of the fiilng of the appeal shall be filed with the director of Ohio EPA within three (3) days of filing with the Commission. Ohio EPA requests that a copy of the appeal be served upon the Ohio Attorney Generals Office, Environmental Enforcement Section. The filing of an appeal does not automatically suspend or stay the action appealed.

If, after hearing the appeal, ERAC determines that the action appealed was lawful and reasonable, ERAC will affirm the Director's action. If ERAC determines that the action was either unlawful or unreasonable, the action will be vacated or modified.

Orders of ERAC are appealable by adversely affected  parties to the Franklin County Court of Appeals, or if the appeal arises from an alleged violation of a law or rule, to the Court of Appeals for the district in which the violation is alleged to have occurred.

Audit Disclosure Response Protocol

Ohio's audit privilege and immunity law is designed to enhance protection of human health and the environment by encouraging regulated entities to voluntarily discover, promptly disclose and expeditiously correct violations of environmental laws. Under the law, the owner or operator of a facility may perform a voluntary self-evaluation (audit) designed to improve compliance or identify, correct, or prevent noncompliance with environmental laws. In return for performing a proper audit, the owner or operator can qualify for immunity from the gravity portion of any civil penalty for the violations disclosed. 

Weekly Review and Public Notices

Each week, the Ohio EPA Weekly Review provides a county-by-county listing of public notices in alphabetical order by county. Most of Ohio EPA's public notices are contained in this listing. Certain Ohio EPA public notices are too lengthy to be included in the county-by-county listing, or apply to more than one county. An example would be public notices of proposed rule-making. These multi-county or other public notices are posted by week.

Trade Secret Protection

Ohio Revised Code 3734.12(G) authorizes Ohio EPA to establish procedures to ensure the protection of trade secret information.

For more information, please see the Requesting the Recognition of Trade Secret Protection fact sheet.

Please note that Ohio EPA does not have the authority to bestow trade secret status on records that do not constitute trade secrets.  Ohio Revised Code 3734.12(G) merely authorizes the Ohio EPA to ensure only that all information entitled to trade secret protection as trade secrets be accorded confidential status  State ex. rel. Lucas Cty. Bd. of Commrs. v. Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, 88 Ohio St.3d 166, 171, 724 N.E.2d 411 (2000).

Required Documentation

Ohio Administrative Code 3745-49-03 prescribes Ohio EPA's process of evaluating claims of trade secret protection. Please note that the burden of establishing entitlement to trade secret protection is upon the party requesting that protection.

There are four documents that you must submit to Ohio EPA. Each is listed below, with relevant information that the rules require.

  1. UNREDACTED COPY. An unredacted copy (identified as such) of the underlying documents, with each page numbered consecutively from beginning to end;
  2. PUBLIC COPY. A proposed public copy (identified as such) of the underlying documents, with each page numbered consecutively from beginning to end;
  3. STATEMENT. A statement that describes each item of information for which trade secret protection is claimed, and that identifies the location of each item in the underlying documents, which justifies the existence of trade secret protection, and explains:
    1. The nature of the information for which you are seeking protection  (i.e. scientific or technical information, design, process, procedure, formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or improvement, or any business information or plans, financial information, or listing of names, addresses, or telephone number);
    2. How the information derives independent economic value, actual or potential, from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by other persons who can obtain economic value from its disclosure or use;
    3. The efforts used to maintain its secrecy; and
    4. That the information is not generally known outside of your organization or otherwise discoverable in other public documentation.
  4. ATTESTATION. A sworn or affirmed signature, attesting that the statements made in the submission are true and accurate.

Law Summary

Material/Activity Regulated Division/Program Administrative Code Revised Code Federal Enabling/
Related Statute
Air Pollution DAPC 3745-71 to 80; 3745-14 to 26; 3745-31; 3745-35; 3745-101 to 103 3704 Clean Air Act (CAA)
Cessation of Regulated Operations DMWM 3745-352 3752 N/A
Clean Ohio Fund Clean Ohio Fund Program (DERR) N/A 122.65 - .659 N/A
Community Right-to-Know, Emergency Planning, and Release Reporting Requirements DAPC--State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) 3750-1 to 60 3750 Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (EPCRTK)
Construction Demolition & Debris DMWM 3745-400 3714 N/A
Drinking Water DDAGW 3745-81 to 99; 3745-7 6109 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
Hazardous Waste DMWM 3745-50 to 69; 3745-218; 3745-248; 3745-270 3734 Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA); Subtitle C
Injection of Wastes into Wells Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program (DDAGW) 3745-34 6111.043 - .049 SDWA
Ohio EPA (Enabling Statute) All Divisions/Programs (Including Verified Complaint Process, Environmental Education Fund, and Environmental Audits) N/A 3745 N/A
Oil and Gas Separate entity; Department of Natural Resources (DNR) 1501 1509 SDWA
Private Sewer Systems DSW N/A 6112 N/A
Remedial Actions at Unregulated Sites DERR N/A 3734, 3745.12, and 6111 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act (CERCLA)
Solid & Infectious Wastes DMWM 3745-27, 28, 29, 30; 3745-37 3734 RCRA Subtitle D (only for municipal solid waste landfills)
Spills of Hazardous Substances, Oil, etc. Emergency Response Section (DERR) N/A 3734, 3745.12, and 6111 CERCLA
Toxic Release Inventory DAPC 3745-100 3751 EPCRTK
Underground Storage Tanks Separate entity: Bureau of Underground Storage Tank Regulation (BUSTR) 1301 3737 RCRA
Universal Wastes DMWM 3745-273 3734 RCRA
Used Oil DMWM 3745-279 3734 RCRA
Voluntary Clean-up Voluntary Action Program (VAP)(DERR) 3745-300 3746 N/A
Water Pollution DSW 3745-1 to 3; 3745-7; 3745-11; 3745-32 to 33; 3745-36; 3745-38; 3745-40; 3745-42 6111, 6117 & 6119 Clean Water Act (CWA)
DAPC Division of Air Pollution Control
DDAGW Division of Drinking and Ground Waters
DMWM Division of Materials and Waste Management
DSW Division of Surface Water
DERR Division of Environmental Response and Revitalization

Internship Program

A legal internship with Ohio EPA offers students an opportunity to learn more about a growing area of law and work closely with individuals responsible for enforcing the law. The work is exciting, interesting, and professionally challenging. Additionally, work with Ohio EPA will provide important experience for any future legal positions in the environmental field.

The goal of the program is to involve participating law students in Ohio EPA's multimedia programs. Legal interns work approximately 10 hours per week (up to 40 hours per week during summer programs) in Columbus, Ohio, and have the opportunity to draft enforcement documents and memoranda on environmental issues.

Preference will be given to second- and third-year law students with environmental law, environmental policy, and/or environmental science experience.

These are paid positions. Students participating in the program will have the opportunity to develop skills, learn substantive areas of law and witness first-hand how a large and active government agency operates. Students are assigned projects ranging from legal research to the actual development and preparation of enforcement cases.

Students also have the opportunity to witness negotiation sessions; attend public meetings (where Agency personnel brief and answer questions from the regulated community and concerned citizens about proposed actions of the Director); attend proceedings before the Environmental Review Appeals Commission and Ohio EPA hearing examiners; and attend hearings before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. Students may also have the opportunity to visit regulated facilities and sites where clean ups are being performed.

Law students may intern during either the summer or the academic year. Staff Attorneys volunteer to serve as mentors and help students choose projects, provide constructive feedback on work performed, and coordinate with the student's law school to ensure that requirements for any available academic credit are met. Throughout the internship, the mentor and student will meet to discuss the student's work and any questions or issues that may arise. Students who are interested in the legal intern program can view any current postings for a legal intern position through the Ohio Hiring Management System.

NOTE: postings will be listed as a College Internship for the Office of Legal Services. If you have questions or would like more information regarding this program, please contact Ohio EPA's Legal Office at 614-644-3037 and ask to speak to an intern coordinator. 


Phone: 614-644-3037
Fax: 614-728-1803
Email Webmaster


Physical address:
Ohio EPA - Office of Legal Services
Lazarus Government Center
50 W. Town St., Suite 700
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Mailing address:
Ohio EPA - Legal
Lazarus Government Center
50 W. Town St., Suite 700
P.O. Box 1049
Columbus, Ohio 43216-1049

Name Area(s) of Practice
Anderson, Todd A. Deputy Director, Legal
Bennett, Colin W. Drinking Water  
Bergman, Drew Assistant Chief Legal Counsel: Supervising Attorney, Air Pollution
Damschroder, Bill Supervising Attorney, Environmental Response and Revitalization; Voluntary Action Program
Feldmann, Stephen R. Air Pollution
Finfrock, Teri Hearing Examiner
Fischbein, Ann M. Assistant Chief Legal Counsel; Supervising Attorney, Drinking Water
Fischbein, Bill Supervising Attorney, Surface Water Program
Galligan, Casey Surface Water
Glasgow, Marcus Supervising Attorney, Environmental Response and Revitalization
Harter, Troy M. Solid Waste; Infectious Waste; Construction and Demolition Debris
Horvitz, Martha E. Surface Water
Kim, Steven Supervising Attorney, Public Records; Employment; Contracts; Administrative Law
Lynn, Sarah Remedial Response; Voluntary Action Program
Maney, Janine M. Supervising Attorney, Drinking Water
Miles, Sarah M. Environmental Response and Revitalization/Hazardous Waste
Miller, Elissa B. Environmental Response and Revitalization/Hazardous Waste
Nichols, Robin M. Solid Waste; Infectious Waste; Construction and Demolition Debris
Rhoads, Kimberly A. Air Pollution
Shapiro, Michael A. Surface Water
Simcic, Jr., Peter M. Water Pollution
White, Clint Environmental Response and Revitalization; Voluntary Action Program
Vanterpool, Donald L. Air Pollution
Wilson, W. Samuel Agency Policy Development; Public Records
Office Support/Legal Records
Bouder, Rich Public Records Manager
Lassiter, Tonya R. Journal Room (Director's Journal), Records Management Officer
Nichol, Kelly A. Administrative Professional 4