About the Departmental Cases Hearings Division

The Departmental Cases Hearings Division serves as the Department's administrative trial court for cases involving lands and resources under the Department's jurisdiction. Through formal hearings conducted by administrative law judges under the Administrative Procedure Act, the Division decides grazing appeals, surface coal mining cases, civil penalty assessments under various wildlife and resource protection laws, certain cases involving the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDA), disputed issues of material fact with respect to conditions and prescriptions in hydropower licenses, and contests of mining claims, Alaska Native allotment applications, and other asserted interests in Federal land.

The Division also conducts hearings on other matters upon request from a bureau or office, an OHA appeals board, or the Director. Examples include adjudications pertaining to oil and gas leases, rights-of-way, and alleged trespasses on Federal lands.

The Division is headed by a Supervisory Administrative Law Judge and is located in OHA's Salt Lake City office. Most of its decisions may be appealed to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Decisions in cases referred to the Division by the Interior Board of Indian Appeals are appealable to that Board, except that ISDA decisions involving the Indian Health Service are appealable to the Departmental Appeals Board within the Department of Health and Human Services.

Division decisions that are not administratively appealable include those determining issues of material fact with respect to conditions or prescriptions that the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, or Interior develop for inclusion in hydropower licenses under the Federal Power Act. Such determinations are final for the Departments involved.

Contact Information

Departmental Cases Hearings Division
Office of Hearings and Appeals
U.S. Department of the Interior
351 South West Temple, Suite 6.300
Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
801-524-5344 (voice)

Key Personnel

Harvey C. Sweitzer, Supervisory Administrative Law Judge
James H. Heffernan, Administrative Law Judge
Christopher D. Helms, Administrative Law Judge
Andrew S. Pearlstein, Administrative Law Judge
Karl R. Johnson, Senior Attorney-Advisor
Elizabeth-Anne Bowman, Supervisory Paralegal Specialist


Procedural Regulations for Cases before the Departmental Cases Hearings Division