Judge Extends Ombudsman Restraining Order

Washington, D.C. -- A federal judge has extended his temporary restraining order prohibiting the Bush administration from moving the office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) ombudsman to the Inspector General's office.

The judge said he plans to issue a ruling in the ombudsman case by the end of next week, when the temporary order is slated to end. Robert Martin, the EPA's ombudsman, filed the order in January 2002 because he felt that the move would weaken his role in hearing citizens' complains on waste and Superfund matters.

Meantime, the judge has asked the Justice Department to provide more information about the EPA's proposal to set limits on the ombudsman's ability to speak publicly.