The Office of Hearings and Appeals is the central adjudicative forum for the Department of Energy. The Secretary of Energy has delegated to the OHA Director the authority to act for him in many different areas. The OHA Director's decision typically serves as final agency action.
During it’s over 30-year history, OHA has had broad-ranging subject matter jurisdiction. Originally, OHA's primary function was to consider exceptions and other petitions related to the economic oil regulations, as well as Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act appeals. From that point onward, OHA's jurisdiction has evolved to meet the needs of DOE's programs.
Over the years, OHA has heard appeals from a variety of DOE determinations, including those related to the Department’s Alternative Fuel Transportation Program, physician panel reviews of DOE worker occupational illness claims, payment-equal-to-taxes claims under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, civil penalties imposed for violations of DOE's worker safety and health rule, and the equity interests in production from Elk Hills Oil Field, formerly Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 1.
The procedures that OHA uses vary, depending on the type of case involved. OHA procedures are flexible and easily adaptable to new situations, allowing OHA to minimize “start-up” times and to produce high-quality work in new areas. OHA’s general procedures and those used for specific proceedings can be found on our web site at under “Services.”