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A primary function of the Commission is to conduct administrative review (more commonly called "appeals") as the "ultimate authority" for the Department of Natural Resources. The Commission is required by Indiana Code 14-10-2-2 to appoint Administrative Law Judges to assist with this responsibility.

Effective in 2004, 312 IAC 3-1-12 was amended to establish the "Administrative Orders and Procedures Act" or "AOPA" Committee of the Natural Resources Commission. The AOPA Committee considers and acts upon matters arising after the completion of adjudications under IC 4-21.5. Most prominently, the AOPA Committee reviews objections filed by a party to the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and nonfinal order of an Administrative Law Judge. Other rarer but important issues may be considered, including where multiple agencies have authority over a subject, and the modification of final orders.

The Commission approved Information Bulletin #42 (First Amendment) to help guide and communicate to the public how the AOPA Committee functions.


The Commission was a pioneer in inplementing mediation as an alternative to litigation for administrative cases. Processess for mediation are outlined in the nonrule policy document Mediation and Facilitation in Administrative Proceedings before the Natural Resources Commission.

Contested Administrative Decisions

In 1988, the Commission authorized the compilation of all administrative decisions, entered by the Commission or an Administrative Law Judge following contested proceedings, in a searchable database called CADDNAR. The database is frequently updated to include new decisions and also tracks these decisions if appealed to a civil court.

Procedural Rules (312 IAC 3)

The Commission has adopted procedural rules at 312 IAC 3-1 to assist with administrative review by the Commission and its Administrative Law Judges. The Indiana Board of Licensure for Professional Geologists has also adopted these procedural rules.