The Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) today released its Accomplishments Report for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The report highlights ENRD’s strong enforcement of our nation’s environmental and natural resources laws, efforts to advance environmental justice and role in our nation’s response to the climate crisis.
“I am proud to serve alongside the remarkable attorneys and staff who dedicate their professional lives to advancing the interests of the American people in environmental and natural resource matters,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD). “ENRD has an incredibly important mission to protect public health and welfare by enforcing the nation’s environmental laws, safeguarding our breathtaking landscapes and precious natural resources, preserving the rights and resources of American Indian and Alaska Native nations, defending federal agency actions and enabling critical infrastructure projects, among other things.”
In 2021, ENRD litigated and won meaningful remedies from polluters who imperiled overburdened communities across the nation, including in America’s heartland, the Southeast, downtown New York City and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Going forward, Assistant Attorney General Kim pledged that ENRD will work “to ensure that all Americans — regardless of race, color, national origin or income — are treated fairly and can engage in the decisions that affect them.”
ENRD also prioritized efforts to combat climate change, as part of the President’s whole-of-government response to the climate crisis. Last year, ENRD brought civil and criminal cases to limit damaging pollution from sources like petroleum facilities and oceangoing vessels. The division also worked to protect natural resources by defending floodplain control projects and cracking down on those who unlawfully fill wetlands, illegally harvest timber and more. The division defended the authority of other federal agencies to take critical steps needed to alleviate the effects of climate change, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
In FY21, ENRD worked on more than 4,000 matters. It obtained over $1.5 billion in civil and criminal fines, penalties and costs recovered. It secured federal injunctive relief valued at over $5.1 billion. And through its defensive and condemnation litigation, it saved the United States more than $443 million. ENRD achieved a favorable outcome in 99.4% of its civil enforcement cases, 90.2 percent in its civil defensive cases, 98.9% of its criminal cases and 100% of its condemnation cases.
The achievements described in the report add to ENRD’s storied legacy, which dates back 113 years. Its work is all the more important now, at what Assistant Attorney General Kim called a “pivotal moment in our nation’s history,” for environmental and natural resources issues.