DOJ Issues Environmental Accomplishments Report

The Environmental and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) issued its Summary of Division Accomplishments for Fiscal Year 2018 (the Report).

ENRD Priorities

The Report identifies the following ENRD priorities:

  • enforcing pollution abatement and wildlife protection laws, particularly in cases involving fraud or abuse;
  • promoting energy independence and economic growth by defending the reduction of regulatory burdens and supporting infrastructure development;
  • strengthening national security and border protection;
  • promoting cooperative federalism; and
  • protecting public funds.

Numerical Achievements/Case Highlights

The Report summarizes ENRD’s 2018 achievements, including $260 million in civil and criminal fines, penalties and costs and obtaining injunctive relief valued at over $3.3 billion.  The Report does not mention these are at or near the lowest amounts for the last ten fiscal years.

In individual enforcement case highlights, the Report identifies a settlement where a company has agreed to remove lead-contaminated soils from over 4,000 residences. It also notes convictions for four defendants, resulting in lengthy prison terms, relating to the renewable fuels program.

Regarding ENRD’s accomplishments in defending actions by federal agencies, the Report notes the successful defense of permitting for the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which allowed construction of these pipelines to proceed.

EPA Gold Medal Awards

The Report identifies several ENRD lawyers receiving Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal Awards from EPA.  The Gold Medal winners are:

  • the team that concluded settlements relating to air pollution from carbon black facilities;
  • the team that negotiated and implemented a consent decree with Enbridge Energy for a $62 million penalty and comprehensive measures to prevent oil spills; and
  • the team that led the enforcement relating to underground storage tanks.

To see the June 18, 2019 DOJ press release, which includes a link to the Report, https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/environment-and-natural-resources-division-releases-accomplishments-report-fy2018