Agency: Environmental Quality

A case is initiated by the filing of a petition for a contested case hearing.  Upon receipt of a petition, a file is opened and the parties are offered two options.  First, the case will be held in abeyance as long as good faith settlement discussions are being conducted and periodic status reports are filed.  If the parties are able to informally resolve the matter, the case is dismissed.  If resolution is not reached, the case is set for hearing.  The second option to forego settlement discussions and proceed to hearing at the earliest possible date. 


The hearing process consists of a number of stages.  The first is deciding any legal issues through the filing of a Motion, which is a request for a specified ruling.  The ALJ issues and Opinion and Order that decides a Motion.  The second step is creation of an evidentiary record, consisting of sworn testimony and exhibits, in the hearing itself.  After the close of the hearing, a Proposal for Decision is issued by the ALJ.  The last step in the process is the issuance of a Final Determination and Order by the Director of the DEQ.  The final agency decision may be appealed to circuit court, which reviews the matter based on the record created during the contested case hearing.


To access additional information on the contested case hearing process, please visit these websites:


  • Petition for a contested case hearing form
  • Library of Opinions and Orders, Proposals for Decision, and Final Determination and Orders
  • State Office of Administrative Hearings and Rules
  • Administrative Procedures Act
  • Administrative Rules governing contested case hearings