40 CFR 179.105 - Initial decision.
(a) After the filing of briefs and any oral argument, the presiding officer shall prepare and file an initial decision on the issues of fact in the hearing and the objections relating to those issues.
(b) The initial decision must be based on a fair evaluation of the entire record, and must contain:
(i) A conclusion that no change is warranted in the order or regulation to which objection was taken; or
(ii) A conclusion that changes in the order or regulation are warranted, the language of the order or regulation as changed, and an effective date for the order or regulation as changed.
(2) Findings of fact supported by reliable, probative and substantial evidence that has been found admissible by the presiding officer, and adequate citations to the record supporting those findings.
(3) Conclusions on legal and policy issues, if such conclusions are necessary to resolve the objections.
(4) A discussion of the reasons for the findings and conclusions, including a discussion of the significant contentions made by any party.
(c) Except as otherwise provided by order of the Administrator filed in accordance with § 179.80, after the initial decision is filed, the presiding officer has no further jurisdiction over the matter and any motions or requests filed with the hearing clerk will be decided by the Administrator.
(d) The initial decision becomes the final decision of the Administrator by operation of law unless a party files exceptions with the hearing clerk under § 179.107 or the Administrator files a notice of review under § 179.110.