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                                                       Calendar No. 737
107th Congress                                               Report
 2d Session               SENATE                             107-320
======================================================================
 
                 OMBUDSMAN REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 2002

                                _______
                                

                October 17, 2002.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

   Mr. Jeffords, from the Committee on Environment and Public Works, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [to accompany S. 606]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works, to which was 
referred a bill (S. 606) to provide additional authority to the 
Office of Ombudsman of the Environmental Protection Agency, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.

                    General Statement and Background

    The 1984 amendments to the Resource Conservation and 
Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.) first established a 
National Hazardous Waste Ombudsman at the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA) (42 U.S.C. 6917). Over time, EPA 
expanded the Office of the Ombudsman's jurisdiction to include 
Superfund and other hazardous waste programs managed by the 
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). EPA 
retained the Office of the Ombudsman within OSWER as a matter 
of policy after its legislative authorization expired in 1988. 
Additionally, EPA installed part-time ombudsman in each of its 
regional offices.
    The Office of the Ombudsman typically responds to citizen's 
concerns, assists industry in complying with environmental 
regulations, and handles complaints arising from the relevant 
hazardous waste programs. In recent years, the Office has 
played an increasingly prominent role through his 
investigations of citizen complaints referred by Members of 
Congress.
    Asked to examine whether there are institutional barriers 
to the fulfillment of the Office of the Ombudsman's 
responsibilities, the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a 
report (GAO-01-813) titled ``EPA's National and Regional 
Ombudsmen Do Not Have Sufficient Independence'' in July 2001. 
The report found that key aspects of EPA's Office of the 
Ombudsman were not consistent with relevant professional 
standards. The report found that ``EPA could help ensure that 
the ombudsman is perceived as independent by locating the 
function outside the unit he is responsible for investigating 
and by giving him control over his budget and staff 
resources.'' The report also found that the lack of 
independence of the regional ombudsmen should preclude their 
involvement in more significant investigations, and that EPA 
should reexamine these positions. Additionally, the report 
recommended that the Office of the Ombudsman (1) develop 
written criteria for selecting and prioritizing cases for 
investigations and (2) maintain records on his investigations 
and other activities sufficient to serve as the basis for a 
reasonable estimate of resource needs.
    Partly in response to the GAO's recommendations, in the 
fall of 2001 (November 27), EPA announced the transfer of the 
Office of the National Ombudsman to the Office of the Inspector 
General. The transfer was challenged in Federal court by the 
then National Ombudsman, but the court dismissed the claim 
April 12, 2002, ruling that the National Ombudsman had not 
exhausted his potential administrative remedies. The transfer 
became effective on April 13, 2002, and the Office was 
physically relocated on April 19, 2002. Claiming that the move 
of the Office of the Ombudsman to the Office of the Inspector 
General (OIG) would compromise his independence, the National 
Ombudsman resigned April 22, 2002. The EPA appointed an Acting 
National Ombudsman on May 3, 2002.

                     Objectives of the Legislation

    S. 606 reauthorizes the Office of the Ombudsman and sets 
funding levels through fiscal year 2012. The legislation 
strengthens the Office of the Ombudsman by establishing an 
independent office within EPA whose head shall be appointed by 
the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Ombudsman must 
not have been an employee of the EPA 1 year prior to 
appointment and must have prior experience as an ombudsman in a 
Federal, State, or local government entity. The National 
Ombudsman reports directly to the Administrator of the EPA, but 
can only be removed by the President.
    It is the intent of the legislation that the Office of the 
Ombudsman conform to the relevant professional standards for 
establishment and operation. One such guideline is the American 
Bar Association's 2001 Standards for the Establishment and 
Operation of Ombuds Offices. It is expected that the Office of 
the Ombudsman conform to either the ABA's standard or a similar 
standard that is at least as rigorous and widely accepted.
    The Office of the Ombudsman is empowered to conduct 
investigations, make findings of fact, hold public hearings, 
and make nonbinding recommendations to the EPA Administrator 
concerning programs within the jurisdiction of the EPA's Office 
of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
    The Office of the Ombudsman is required to issue an annual 
report of its activities to the Congress and may issue 
additional reports, conclusions, and recommendations concerning 
other matters under investigation by the Office. It is the 
intent of this legislation that these reports include 
dissenting views either in whole, or where appropriate, in 
summarized form.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

Section 1. Short Title
    This Act may be cited as the ``Ombudsman Reauthorization 
Act of 2002''.
Sec. 2. Office of Ombudsman
    This section amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act (42 U.S.C. 
6901 et seq.) to restore the authorization for the Office of 
the Ombudsman originally established by Congress in 1984 (42 
U.S.C. 6917) to receive complaints and render assistance to any 
person regarding hazardous waste programs at the Environmental 
Protection Agency (EPA). This section strengthens the Office of 
the Ombudsman by establishing an independent office within EPA, 
specifies the duties, powers and responsibilities of the 
Office, allows the Ombudsman to administer the Office through 
control of the budget and staff, provides employee 
whistleblower protection for any person who complies with this 
section, authorizes appropriations and establishes a separate 
line item in the budget for the Office. This section also 
allows the Ombudsman to make recommendations directly to the 
Administrator, while at the same time requiring the Ombudsman 
to report annually to Congress and the President, and providing 
conditions for removal of the Ombudsman.

                      SUBSECTION (A): DEFINITIONS

    This subsection defines the term ``Agency'' as the EPA, the 
term ``Deputy Ombudsman'' as individuals appointed as such by 
the Ombudsman in each region of the Agency, the term ``Office'' 
as the Office of the Ombudsman, and the term ``Ombudsman'' as 
the director of the Office.

                     SUBSECTION (B): ESTABLISHMENT

    This subsection establishes the Office as an independent 
office within EPA. The previous Ombudsman was established 
within the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response 
(OSWER), and reported to the Assistant Administrator of OSWER. 
The Ombudsman was placed within OSWER because he had 
responsibility for receiving complaints and rendering 
assistance on programs administered by that office. However, 
the Ombudsman was not truly independent because he was under 
the supervision of, and his budget and resources were 
controlled by, those who administered the programs he 
investigated. This subsection corrects this problem and 
establishes a truly independent Office of the Ombudsman at EPA, 
consistent with other Federal ombudsmen and relevant 
professional guidelines such as the American Bar Association 
and the United States Ombudsman Association. This subsection 
provides that the Ombudsman shall be appointed by the President 
by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Eligible 
appointees are individuals who have experience as an Ombudsman 
in a government entity, and who have not worked at EPA within 1 
year of appointment. The Ombudsman serves a 5-year term and may 
be reappointed one additional term. The Ombudsman may be 
removed or suspended by the President for neglect of duty or 
malfeasance in office, and the reasons for removal or 
suspension must be communicated to Congress.

                         SUBSECTION (C): DUTIES

    This subsection provides that the Ombudsman shall receive 
complaints, grievances or requests for information from any 
person relating to any program or requirement administered by 
OSWER, including but not limited to the Solid Waste Disposal 
Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980. The Ombudsman may 
render assistance, conduct investigations, make findings of 
fact, and make nonbinding recommendations to the EPA 
Administrator regarding these programs and requirements.

              SUBSECTION (D): POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

    This subsection would codify and strengthen the powers of 
the Office of the Ombudsman in order to provide the greatest 
protection for the independence of the Office, and ensure that 
the Ombudsman may carry out his duties as intended by this 
section. EPA has currently placed the ombudsman function in the 
Inspector General's office. According to testimony before this 
committee on June 25, 2002, the Inspector General's office 
requires the Ombudsman to obtain prior approval by management 
to conduct a wide range of activities, such as determining 
matters appropriate for investigation, or communicating with 
the public, Congress and the media.
    This subsection clarifies that the Ombudsman may 
communicate with any person, including Congress and the press. 
The Ombudsman may select and prioritize cases through the power 
to investigate any action, select appropriate matters for 
action, and determine the scope and manner of investigations 
made by the Office as long as the case falls under the programs 
or requirements outlined above in subsection (c).
    The Ombudsman may also prescribe the methods by which 
complaints are made, received and addressed by the Office. The 
Ombudsman may determine how and when to distribute conclusions 
and recommendations on matters addressed by the Office 
(separate from the requirement that the Ombudsman issue an 
annual report as provided in a later subsection). The Ombudsman 
may request assistance from other Federal agencies and 
departments, examine records and inspect properties under the 
administrative jurisdiction of Federal agencies and departments 
involved in a matter under OSWER. The Ombudsman may conduct 
public hearings on the record in the course of an 
investigation, and may issue a subpoena to obtain information 
relevant to the investigation. In addition to conducting public 
hearings, the Ombudsman may also engage in alternate dispute 
resolution and informal processes to address citizen 
complaints. The Ombudsman shall administer a budget for the 
Office.

                     SUBSECTION (E): ADMINISTRATION

    This subsection allows the Ombudsman to manage the Office 
through control of the budget and personnel resources, and 
places reporting requirements on the Office. The Ombudsman 
shall appoint a Deputy Ombudsman in each region of the Agency, 
and may hire and supervise other employees necessary to carry 
out the duties of the Office. It is the intent of the 
legislation that the Deputy Ombudsmen be full-time employees of 
the Office of the Ombudsman. The Ombudsman may delegate 
responsibilities to other employees of the Office except the 
power of delegation, the subpoena power, and the responsibility 
to make recommendations to the Administrator. The Ombudsman 
must maintain contact information different from the contact 
information of the Agency in each region to ensure that 
citizens may communicate unfettered with the Office of the 
Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is required to publish an annual 
report on the status of complaints and cases brought before the 
Ombudsman, and must submit the report to Congress, the 
President, and the Administrator. The Ombudsman may also issue 
reports and recommendations concerning individual matters 
addressed by the Office. The Ombudsman must solicit comments 
from the Agency, and must include these comments in any written 
report or recommendation issued by the Office.

                       SUBSECTION (F): PENALTIES

    This subsection clarifies that the provisions of law 
relating to knowingly and willfully making false statements (18 
U.S.C. 1001) and obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. 1505) apply 
to activities performed by the Office of the Ombudsman.

                  SUBSECTION (G): EMPLOYEE PROTECTION

    This subsection ensures that the duties, powers and 
responsibilities of the Office of the Ombudsman are protected 
activity under Federal environmental whistleblower statutes. 
This subsection provides that any employee may not be 
discharged or discriminated against (with respect to 
compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment) by 
their employer for complying with any provision of this 
section. Protected employees include employees of the Office of 
the Ombudsman and other government employees as well as non-
government employees involved in a matter before the Office.
    Any employee who believes that they have been discharged or 
discriminated against for complying with this section may, 
within 180 days following the violation, file a complaint with 
the Department of Labor (DOL) in accordance with the procedures 
established in the Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 
5851). Many other Federal environmental statutes also have 
whistleblower provisions. However, the statute of limitations 
for filing a complaint tends to be 30 days, and is often too 
short a timeframe for the employee to become aware of the 
violation and file a complaint with DOL. The complaint 
procedure established in 42 U.S.C. 5851 is considered a more 
protective standard for whistleblower complaints. The case law 
has consistently held that no categories of employees are 
excluded, and the statute has been used effectively in recent 
years by Federal and private employees, including those engaged 
in Ombudsman activities.
    Under the DOL proceedings, upon receipt of the complaint, 
the Secretary of Labor must notify the person named in the 
complaint, and conduct an investigation of the alleged 
violation. The Secretary must complete the investigation, and 
notify both parties of the results of the investigation within 
30 days of receiving the complaint. If the parties fail to 
enter settlement negotiations, the Secretary must issue an 
order providing relief or deny the complaint within 90 days of 
receiving the complaint. An order issued by the Secretary may 
be appealed in the United States court of appeals for the 
circuit in which the violation occurred. If a person fails to 
comply with an order, the Secretary may file a civil action in 
United States district court to enforce such order.

                     SUBSECTION (H): APPLICABILITY

    This subsection provides that the establishment of this 
section may not limit any remedy or right of appeal. The Office 
of the Ombudsman may conduct activities as authorized in this 
section, including activities that relate to agency actions 
that under any provision of law, are final, not reviewable, or 
not subject to appeal. However, in so doing, the Office does 
not have any authority to change Administrative policy. The 
Office of the Ombudsman is established as an ``informal'' 
function to resolve complaints, through powers such as the 
authority to conduct investigations, conduct public hearings 
and publish reports and recommendations. Recommendations of the 
Ombudsman are not binding administrative action. Any person who 
contacts the Office is not limited from following other 
procedures concerning grievances, appeals or administrative 
matters under the Solid Waste Disposal Act or any other law, 
nor is the establishment of the Office intended to affect the 
formal administration of any law. Subsection (i): Authorization 
of Appropriations
    This subsection authorizes $3 million, $4 million, and $5 
million for fiscal years 2003-2004, 2005-2008, and 2009-2012 
respectively, for the Office of the Ombudsman. Directs the 
President to include a separate line item for the Office in the 
annual budget request sent to Congress.

                          Legislative History

    S. 606 was introduced by Senators Crapo, Allard, and Craig 
on March 23, 2001 and referred to the Committee on Environment 
and Public Works. The committee considered and amended the bill 
in a business meeting on September 26, 2002 and ordered the 
bill, as amended, reported to the Senate.
    The committee held a hearing June 25, 2002 to conduct 
oversight of the EPA's Inspector General Actions with respect 
to the Office of the Ombudsman and to evaluate S. 606.

                                Hearings

    On June 25, 2002, the Committee on Environment and Public 
Works held a hearing to conduct oversight of the EPA's 
Inspector General Actions with respect to the Office of the 
Ombudsman and to evaluate S. 606, a bill to provide additional 
authority to the Office of the Ombudsman of the EPA. The 
committee received testimony from Senator Wayne Allard; 
Representative Jerrold Nadler; EPA Inspector General Nikki L. 
Tinsley; David Wood, Director, Natural Resources and 
Environment, U.S. General Accounting Office; Danielle Brian, 
Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight, 
Washington, DC; the former EPA National Ombudsman Robert 
Martin; Katherine Zanetti, Facilitator of the Shoshone Natural 
Resources Coalition, Wallace, ID; and Susan Shortz, President 
of Halt Environmental Lead Pollution, Throop, PA.

                             Rollcall Votes

    The Committee on Environment and Public Works met to 
consider S. 606 on September 26, 2002. The committee, by 
unanimous voice vote, agreed to a complete substitute amendment 
by Senators Jeffords and Crapo. The committee voted favorably 
to report S. 606, as amended, by unanimous voice vote.

                      Regulatory Impact Statement

    In compliance with section 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the committee makes evaluation of 
the regulatory impact of the reported bill.
    The bill does not create any additional regulatory burdens, 
nor will it cause any adverse impact on the personal privacy of 
individuals.

                          Mandates Assessment

    In compliance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
(Public Law 104-4), the committee finds that S. 660 would 
impose no Federal intergovernmental unfunded mandates on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                          Cost of Legislation

    Section 403 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act requires that a statement of the cost of the 
reported bill, prepared by the Congressional Budget Office, be 
included in the report. That statement follows:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               congressional Budget Office,
                                   Washington, DC, October 9, 2002.

Hon. James M. Jeffords, Chairman,
Committee on Environment and Public Works,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 606, the Ombudsman 
Reauthorization Act of 2002.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Susanne S. 
Mehlman, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                            Dan L. Crippen.
                              ----------                              

S. 606, Ombudsman Reauthorization Act of 2002, as ordered reported by 
        the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on 
        September 26, 2002
Summary
    S. 606 would reauthorize the Office of the Ombudsman within 
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and would authorize 
the appropriation of $18 million over the 2003-2007 period to 
support that office. The Office of the Ombudsman has been 
maintained since its authorization expired in 1988 and was most 
recently transferred to EPA's Office of the Inspector General.
    Under S. 606, the new office would be an independent office 
within EPA and the director of the office (i.e., the Ombudsman) 
would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the 
Senate. The Ombudsman would have the authority to investigate 
citizen complaints about programs under EPA's jurisdiction and 
would have control over the office's budget and staff. CBO 
estimates that implementing this legislation would cost $18 
million over the 2003-2007 period, assuming appropriation of 
the specified amounts.
    S. 606 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments.
Estimated Cost to the Federal Government
    CBO estimates that implementing the bill would cost $18 
million over the 2003-2007 period, assuming appropriation of 
the amounts authorized for each year. For this estimate, we 
assume the bill will be enacted near the beginning of fiscal 
year 2003. The estimated outlays are based on historical 
patterns for similar activities. The estimated budgetary impact 
of S. 606 is shown in the following table. The costs of this 
legislation fall within budget function 300 (natural resources 
and environment).

                 By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   2003    2004    2005    2006    2007
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO
        APPROPRIATION\1\
Office of the Ombudsman:........
    Authorization Level.........       3       3       4       4       4
    Estimated Outlays...........       3       3       4       4       4
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ EPA has not yet received a full-year appropriation for 2003. The
  Office of the Ombudsman received an appropriation of about $1 million
  in 2002.

Intergovernmental and Private-Sector Impact
    S. 606 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

Estimate Prepared By: Federal Costs: Susanne S. Mehlman; Impact 
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Susan Sieg Tompkins; 
Impact on the Private Sector: Lauren Marks.

Estimate Approved By: Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:
Changes in Existing Law
    In compliance with section 12 of rule XXVI of the Standing 
Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by the bill 
as reported are shown as follows: Existing law proposed to be 
omitted is enclosed in [black brackets], new matter is printed 
in italic, existing law in which no change is proposed is shown 
in roman:

                       SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL ACT 

            [As Amended Through P.L. 106-580, Dec. 29, 2000]

                     TITLE II--SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL

                     Subtitle A--General Provisions

                   short title and table of contents

      Sec. 1001. This title (hereinafter in this title referred 
to as ``this Act''), together with the following table of 
contents, may be cited as the ``Solid Waste Disposal Act'':

                     Subtitle A--General Provisions

Sec. 1001. Short title and table of contents.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                          [office of ombudsman

      [Sec. 2008. (a) Establishment; Functions.--The 
Administrator shall establish an Office of Ombudsman, to be 
directed by an Ombudsman. It shall be the function of the 
Office of Ombudsman to receive individual complaints, 
grievances, requests for information submitted by any person 
with respect to any program or requirement under this Act.
      [(b) Authority To Render Assistance.--The Ombudsman shall 
render assistance with respect to the complaints, grievances, 
and requests submitted to the Office of Ombudsman, and shall 
make appropriate recommendations to the Administrator.
      [(c) Effect on Procedures for Grievances, Appeals, or 
Administrative Matters.--The establishment of the Office of 
Ombudsman shall not affect any procedures for grievances, 
appeals, or administrative matters in any other provision of 
this Act, any other provision of law, or any Federal 
regulation.
      [(d) Termination.--The Office of the Ombudsman shall 
cease to exist 4 years after the date of enactment of the 
Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984.]

SEC. 2008. OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN.

    (a) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Agency.--The term ``Agency'' means the 
        Environmental Protection Agency.
            (2) Deputy ombudsman.--The term ``Deputy 
        Ombudsman'' means any individual appointed by the 
        Ombudsman under subsection (e)(1)(A)(i).
            (3) Office.--The term ``Office'' means the Office 
        of the Ombudsman established by subsection (b)(1).
            (4) Ombudsman.--The term ``Ombudsman'' means the 
        director of the Office.
    (b) Establishment.--
            (1) In general.--There is established within the 
        Agency an office to be known as the ``Office of the 
        Ombudsman''.
            (2) Oversight.--
                    (A) In general.--The Office shall be an 
                independent office within the Agency.
                    (B) Structure.--To the maximum extent 
                practicable, the structure of the Office shall 
                conform to relevant professional guidelines, 
                standards, and practices.
            (3) Head of office.--
                    (A) Ombudsman.--The Office shall be headed 
                by an Ombudsman, who shall--
                            (i) be appointed by the President 
                        by and with the advice and consent of 
                        the Senate; and
                            (ii) report directly to the 
                        Administrator.
                    (B) Qualifications for and restrictions on 
                employment.--A person appointed as Ombudsman--
                            (i) shall have experience as an 
                        ombudsman in a Federal, State, or local 
                        government entity; and
                            (ii) shall not have been an 
                        employee of the Agency at any time 
                        during the 1-year period before the 
                        date of appointment.
                    (C) Term.--The Ombudsman--
                            (i) shall serve for a term of 5 
                        years; and
                            (ii) may be reappointed for not 
                        more than 1 additional term.
                    (D) Removal.--
                            (i) In general.--The President may 
                        remove or suspend the Ombudsman from 
                        office only for neglect of duty or 
                        malfeasance in office.
                            (ii) Communication to congress.--If 
                        the President removes or suspends the 
                        Ombudsman, the President shall 
                        communicate the reasons for the removal 
                        or suspension to Congress.
    (c) Duties.--The Ombudsman shall--
            (1) receive, and render assistance concerning, any 
        complaint, grievance, or request for information 
        submitted by any person relating to any program or 
        requirement under--
                    (A) this Act;
                    (B) the Comprehensive Environmental 
                Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 
                1980 (42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq.); or
                    (C) any other program administered by the 
                Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response of 
                the Agency; and
            (2) conduct investigations, make findings of fact, 
        and make nonbinding recommendations to the 
        Administrator concerning the programs and requirements 
        described in paragraph (1).
    (d) Powers and Responsibilities.--In carrying out this 
section, the Ombudsman--
            (1) may investigate any action of the Agency 
        without regard to the finality of the action;
            (2) may select appropriate matters for action by 
        the Office;
            (3) may--
                    (A) prescribe the methods by which 
                complaints shall be made to, and received and 
                addressed by, the Office;
                    (B) determine the scope and manner of 
                investigations made by the Office; and
                    (C) determine the form, frequency, and 
                distribution of conclusions and recommendations 
                of the Office;
            (4) may request the Administrator to provide the 
        Ombudsman notification, within a specified period of 
        time, of any action taken on a recommendation of the 
        Ombudsman;
            (5) may request, and shall be granted by any 
        Federal agency or department, assistance and 
        information that the Ombudsman determines to be 
        necessary to carry out this section;
            (6) may examine any record of, and enter and 
        inspect without notice any property under the 
        administrative jurisdiction of--
                    (A) the Agency; or
                    (B) any other Federal agency or department 
                involved in a matter under the administrative 
                jurisdiction of the Office of Solid Waste and 
                Emergency Response of the Agency;
            (7) may--
                    (A) issue a subpoena to compel any person 
                to appear to give sworn testimony concerning, 
                or to produce documentary or other evidence 
                determined by the Ombudsman to be reasonable in 
                scope and relevant to, an investigation by the 
                Office; and
                    (B) seek enforcement of a subpoena issued 
                under subparagraph (A) in a court of competent 
                jurisdiction;
            (8) may carry out and participate in, and cooperate 
        with any person or agency involved in, any conference, 
        inquiry on the record, public hearing on the record, 
        meeting, or study that, as determined by the 
        Ombudsman--
                    (A) is material to an investigation 
                conducted by the Ombudsman; or
                    (B) may lead to an improvement in the 
                performance of the functions of the Agency;
            (9) may administer oaths and hold hearings in 
        connection with any matter under investigation by the 
        Office;
            (10) may engage in alternative dispute resolution, 
        mediation, or any other informal process that the 
        Ombudsman determines to be appropriate to carry out 
        this section;
            (11) may communicate with any person, including 
        Members of Congress, the press, and any person that 
        submits a complaint, grievance, or request for 
        information under subsection (c)(1); and
            (12) shall administer a budget for the Office.
    (e) Administration.--
            (1) In general.--The Ombudsman shall--
                    (A)(i) appoint a Deputy Ombudsman for each 
                region of the Agency; and
                    (ii) hire such other assistants and 
                employees as the Ombudsman determines to be 
                necessary to carry out this section; and
                    (B) supervise, evaluate, and carry out 
                personnel actions (including hiring and 
                dismissal) with respect to any employee of the 
                Office.
            (2) Delegation of authority.--The Ombudsman may 
        delegate to other employees of the Office any 
        responsibility of the Ombudsman under this section 
        except--
                    (A) the power to delegate responsibility;
                    (B) the power to issue subpoenas; and
                    (C) the responsibility to make 
                recommendations to the Administrator.
            (3) Contact information.--The Ombudsman shall 
        maintain, in each region of the Agency, a telephone 
        number, facsimile number, electronic mail address, and 
        post office address for the Ombudsman that are 
        different from the numbers and addresses of the 
        regional office of the Agency located in that region.
            (4) Reports.--The Ombudsman--
                    (A) shall, at least annually, publish in 
                the Federal Register and submit to the 
                Administrator, the President, the Committee on 
                Environment and Public Works of the Senate, and 
                the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the 
                House of Representatives a report on the status 
                of health and environmental concerns addressed 
                in complaints and cases brought before the 
                Ombudsman in the period of time covered by the 
                report;
                    (B) may issue reports, conclusions, or 
                recommendations concerning any other matter 
                under investigation by the Office;
                    (C) shall solicit comments from the Agency 
                concerning any matter under investigation by 
                the Office; and
                    (D) shall include any comments received by 
                the Office in written reports, conclusions, and 
                recommendations issued by the Office under this 
                section.
    (f) Penalties.--An investigation conducted by the Ombudsman 
under this section constitutes--
            (1) a matter under section 1001 of title 18, United 
        States Code; and
            (2) a proceeding under section 1505 of title 18, 
        United States Code.
    (g) Employee Protection.--
            (1) In general.--No employer may discharge any 
        employee, or otherwise discriminate against any 
        employee with respect to compensation, terms, 
        conditions, or privileges of employment of the 
        employee, because the employee (or any person acting at 
        the request of the employee) complied with any 
        provision of this section.
            (2) Complaint.--Any employee that, in the opinion 
        of the employee, is discharged or otherwise 
        discriminated against by any person in violation of 
        paragraph (1) may, not later than 180 days after the 
        date on which the violation occurs, file a complaint in 
        accordance with section 211 of the Energy 
        Reorganization Act of 1974 (42 U.S.C. 5851).
    (h) Applicability.--
            (1) In general.--This section--
                    (A) does not limit any remedy or right of 
                appeal; and
                    (B) may be carried out notwithstanding any 
                provision of law to the contrary that provides 
                that an agency action is final, not reviewable, 
                or not subject to appeal.
            (2) Effect on procedures for grievances, appeals, 
        or administrative matters.--The establishment of the 
        Office does not affect any procedure concerning 
        grievances, appeals, or administrative matters under 
        this Act or any other law (including regulations).
    (i) Authorization of Appropriations.--
            (1) In general.--There are authorized to be 
        appropriated to carry out this section--
                    (A) $3,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
                2003 and 2004;
                    (B) $4,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
                2005 through 2008; and
                    (C) $5,000,000 for each of fiscal years 
                2009 through 2012.
            (2) Separate line item.--In submitting the annual 
        budget for the Federal Government to Congress, the 
        President shall include a separate line item for the 
        funding for the Office.

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