Scheme Nickname: 
Post-decision admin review re: occupancy/use of NFS lands

Informal adjudication process that provides holders, operators, and solicited applicants with administrative (post-decisional) review of written Forest Service (FS) decisions involving written instruments authorizing occupancy or use of National Forest System lands and resources. (36 CFR Part 214). Cases generally address livestock grazing, minerals, or special uses. Cases must fall into one of the appeal categories listed in 36 CFR 214.4 to be reviewable.

Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 
This adjudication scheme provides hearing-level review as of right, and one level of "discretionary" review solely at the discretion (and initiation) of FS officials. Adjudication structure follows the FS chain of command. First level appeals (i.e., hearing-level decisions) are adjudicated by the "Appeal Deciding Officer" who is the FS official one organizational level above the USDA official who issued the challenged initial decision (referred to as the "Responsible Official"). Discretionary appeals, if any, are adjudicated by the "Discretionary Reviewing Officer" who is, in turn, one organizational level above the Appeal Deciding Officer.
Types of Adjudication: 
Type B
Resources & Articles: 
Final Rule-Postdecisional Admin. Review Process for Occupancy or Use of National Forest System Lands and Resources, 78 Fed. Reg. 33,705 (June 5, 2013)
Distinctive Features: 
Not only does the Forest Service have discretion to entertain appeals from hearing-level decisions under 36 CFR Part 214, but such discretionary appellate review is at the initiation of the Forest Service rather than the parties to the appeal. Applicable rules set forth enumerated criteria to guide the Discretionary Reviewing Officer's decision whether to conduct discretionary appellate review. (See 36 CFR 214.19).
Other Comments: 
The Forest Service substantially revised its administrative review procedures in June 2012, stating in the final rule's preamble that the revised rule"simplifies the appeal process, shortens the appeal period, and reduces the cost of appeal while still providing a fair and deliberate procedure[.]" 78 Fed. Reg. at 33,705. The agency specifically rejected several commenters' suggestion that the adjudication process be made more formal, such as the Department of Interior Office of Hearing and Appeals or USDA's National Appeals Division. The agency's stated that its intent "is and always has been" to have an informal process, and opined that a more formal administrative process is not appropriate for the project-based NFS occupancy/use decisions. (Id. at 33,706)
Verified by Agency: 
Not verified
Is this a Major Adjudication: