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The Interior Board of Indian Appeals

Kathryn A. Lynn, Natural Resources and Environmental Administrative Law and Procedure (1999)

The Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) of the Department of the Interior (Department) was established in 1970 as an independent, quasi-judicial office within the Office of the Secretary of the Interior. It is separate from both the Office of the Solicitor and the Department's various program bureaus, whose decisions it reviews. OHA has been delegated authority to adjudicate disputes arising from the Department's enforcement of the laws under its jurisdiction.

OHA is composed of the Office of the Director, a Hearings Division, an Appeals Division, and an Administrative Division. The Hearings Division presently has nine Administrative Law Judges (ALJs), located in Field Offices in Albuquerque, New Mexico (1 ALJ); Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (1 ALJ); Sacramento, California (1 ALJ); Salt Lake City, Utah (3 ALJs); and St. Paul, Minnesota (3 ALJs). These ALJs hear all cases in which a hearing on the record is required under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 554, including Indian probate cases. They also hear other cases which are referred to them by one of the appeals boards, even though a hearing “on the record” may not be required. See 43 C.F.R. § 4.1(a).

OHA has three standing appeals boards: the Interior Board of Contract Appeals, the Interior Board of Indian Appeals, and the Interior Board of Land Appeals. These boards are commonly abbreviated as, resp