Today, the Accomplishments Report of Fiscal Year 2021 by the Department of Justices Environment and Natural Resources Division was released. The report highlights ENRD’s strong enforcement of the nation’s environmental and natural resource laws, efforts to advance environment justice, and role in our nation’s response to the climate crisis.
Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Justice Departments Environment and Natural Resources Division said, “I am proud to serve alongside the extraordinary attorneys and staff who devote their professional lives towards advancing the interests the American people in natural resource and environmental matters.” ENRD’s mission is to protect public health, welfare, and preserve our beautiful landscapes and precious resources. It also defends federal agency actions and facilitates critical infrastructure projects.
ENRD won significant remedies from polluters in 2021. This included the Southeast, New York City, and the U.S Virgin Islands. Assistant Attorney General Kim promised that ENRD would continue to work to ensure that all Americans, regardless of race, color or national origin, are treated fairly and can participate in decisions that affect them.
ENRD also prioritized climate change as part of President Obama’s whole-of government response to the crisis. ENRD brought criminal and civil cases last year to limit pollution from sources such as petroleum facilities and oceangoing ships. The division worked to protect natural resources, defending floodplain control projects, and cracking down against illegally filling wetlands and illegally harvesting timber. The division supported the authority of federal agencies to take crucial steps to mitigate the effects of climate change. This included the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power stations.
ENRD handled more than 4,000 cases in FY21. It recovered more than $1.5 Billion in civil and criminal penalties, fines and costs. It secured federal injunctive relief totaling more than $5.1 million. Through its defensive and condemnation litigation, it helped save the United States over $443 million. ENRD was able to achieve favorable outcomes in 99.4% of its civil enforcement case, 90.2 percent of its civil defensive cases, and 98.9% in its criminal cases.
The report adds to ENRDs long-standing legacy of achievements, which spans 113 year. Its work is even more important now, in what Assistant Attorney General Kim called an historic moment in our nation’s history for environmental and natural resource issues.