Officials Order EPA To Reinstate Ombudsman Official

Washington, D.C. — Two subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have scheduled hearings for today on recent developments in the EPA’s ombudsman’s office. The hearings stem from the Department of Labor's decision to order the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reinstate Hugh Kaufman, a former senior investigator with the ombudsman’s office, after he filed a whistleblower complaint.

The EPA says it will appeal the finding to the Department of Labor, claiming that Kaufman has been discriminatory in the past several years. In his whistleblower complaint, Kaufman said that he was barred from investigating cases for the ombudsman, whose job includes responding to Superfund complaints.

In April, EPA Ombudsman Robert Martin resigned rather than be transferred to work within the EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), where he said he would have no power. After he left, Peggy Boyer became acting ombudsman in the OIG’s office.