—Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno and hundreds of current and past employees celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Environment and Natural Resources Division today.
“The history of the Environment and Natural Resources Division reminds us of the importance of our nation’s public lands and natural resources to the development of this country, and the important role of the division in protecting these resources for future generations,” said Attorney General Holder. “Just as your predecessors in the division helped to preserve public lands and resources for us, your work helps to ensure and preserve a healthier environment for generations to come.”
“On this day it is especially appropriate to acknowledge the division’s career employees, who are the heart and soul of the division. You have my greatest respect and admiration and I am thrilled to return to the division to work with you once again,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, Assistant Attorney General for Environment and Natural Resources Division. “We find ourselves at an important juncture in our nation’s history. The challenges we face are significant but I am confident that together we can continue to advance the division’s mission and meet those challenges.”
The division was created on Nov. 16, 1909, when Attorney General George Wickersham signed a two-page order creating “The Public Lands Division.” He assigned all cases concerning “enforcement of the Public Land Law” including Indian rights cases to the new division, and transferred a staff of nine—six attorneys and three stenographers—to carry out those responsibilities.
As the nation grew and developed, so did the responsibilities of the division and its name changed to the “Environment and Natural Resources Division” to better reflect those responsibilities. Today, the division, which is organized into nine sections, has offices in Washington; Anchorage, Alaska; Boston; Denver; Sacramento, Calif.; San Francisco and Seattle, and a staff of over 600 people. It currently has over 6,000 active cases, and has represented virtually every federal agency in courts all over the United States and its territories and possessions. The cases reflect every aspect of environmental litigation from acquiring lands for national parks, working for cleaner air and water, helping to assure military readiness and protecting wildlife.
Additionally, the Environment and Natural Resources Division welcomed its 33rd Assistant Attorney General today as Ignacia S. Moreno was sworn in by Attorney General Holder. John C. Cruden has served for the past 10 months as the Division’s Acting Assistant Attorney General.
More information about the Environment and Natural Resources Division can be found on its centennial Web site at http://www.justice.gov/enrd/Anniversary/index.html. The division home page is found at http://www.justice.gov/enrd/index.html.