About EPA

About EPA's Offices of Regional Counsel

The U.S. EPA Offices of Regional Counsel (ORCs) are located within each EPA Regional office and provide day-to-day support to each Region and Headquarters for all general legal matters, including defensive litigation and counseling issues. The Regional attorneys give legal advice on:

  • nearly 90 federal laws
  • numerous presidential executive orders
  • EPA regulations, policies, and guidelines
  • case decisions
  • international treaties
  • state laws
  • local ordinances

Specifically, these responsibilities entail counseling regional program staff and managers on the application of statutes, regulations, case law, and policies, as well as any other legal issues that arise.

Counseling is also provided by the ORCs on:

  • the National Historic Preservation Act
  • the Endangered Species Act
  • the Freedom of Information Act
  • Indian law
  • grants
  • labor and personnel law issues

In addition, the ORCs provide ethics counseling to regional staff and management, and most ORCs provide support to the Agency's enforcement program by supplying a Regional Judicial Officer and a Regional Hearing Clerk. Furthermore, regional attorneys draft federal rules and defend the Agency in litigation. Finally, most of the ORCs also provide legal support for all enforcement matters.

The Offices of Regional Counsel support regional and national priorities and commitments. The regional attorneys play a unique role in ensuring that legal requirements and obligations are met -- priorities are often driven by mandates or deadlines imposed by courts, statutes, or regulations.

In addition to the regional program offices and the Office of General Counsel, ORCs also work closely with:

  • EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance
  • other EPA national program managers
  • U.S. Department of Justice
  • U.S. Attorneys
  • State Attorneys General
  • other state and federal agencies such as:
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • U.S. Coast Guard
    • U.S. Department of the Interior

The work of the ORCs covers the full range of legal issues and includes outreach to the public in support of EPA's mission.