DOJ/ENRD Symposium on The Future of Environmental Law

Date01 March 2017
3-2017 NEWS & ANALYSIS 47 ELR 10185
DOJ/ENRD Symposium on
The Future of Environmental Law
On November 4, 2016, DOJ’s Environment and Nat-
ural Resources Division convened an extraordinary
group of legal scholars and practitioners to discuss “e
Future of Environmental Law.” Speaking before the
presidential election but mindful of the transition pos-
sibilities, the symposium panelists identied and dis-
cussed cutting-edge issues in administrative law, natural
resources law, and environmental enforcement that will
be crucial going forward for both government lawyers
and the environmental law profession as a whole. Here,
we present transcripts of these discussions, which have
been edited for style, clarity, and space considerations.
John Cruden is the former Assista nt Attorney General of
the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the
U.S. Department of Justice.
James Br uen is a partner at Farella Brau n + Martel LLP
and Pr esident of t he America n College of Env ironmen-
tal Law yers.
John Cruden: Welcome to the Environment and Natura l
Resources Division (ENRD) of the U.S. Department of
Justice (DOJ). We in the ENRD are litigators on behalf of
the United States. Each day, we are taking positions and l-
ing legal briefs that help establish our body of laws. To do
so we rely on statutes and case law a s they exist today. But
that’s not the focus of this symposium. is sy mposium is
looking to the future to gure out trends, ideas, or theories
that may actually aect our planning for the future.
When we decided to do this symposium, we wanted to
consider the future of both environmental enforcement
and natural resources law. Rapidly, however, we decided
we needed to have a third component; we needed a sepa-
rate panel on administrative law, because it is so integrated
into our daily practice. Once we chose the areas of our
legal focus, we needed speakers. To make that selection we
spoke to many law professors, judges, and practitioners. We
wanted to have academic presentations, with one notable
exception, and we wanted to have the very best in each dis-
cipline. Amidst all of these extraordinary academicians, we
thought we needed at least one practitioner in the group,
and we thought it would be reasonable to bring a friend of
the ENRD who has argued a number of our leading cases.
Donald Verrilli, welcome back to DOJ, and thank you for
your extraordinary public service.
To open the symposium, I want to introduce the Presi-
dent of the American College of Environmental Lawyers,
James Bruen. James has an extraordinary history. He was an
assistant U.S. Attorney and then became Chief of the Civil
Division for the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of
California. Since then, he’s been a partner in a leading envi-
ronmental law rm in San Francisco. James is well known for
his scholarship and as one of the nation’s leading practitioners.
James Bruen: ank you, John. It’s very exciting for me to
welcome you to this historic symposium on the future of
environmental law. I’m here as the President of the Ameri-
can College of Environmental Lawyers. As you may know,
the College is young, but very active. We have environmen-
tal pro bono initiatives in China, Haiti, Cuba, and East
and South Africa. We hope this year to go into India.
We provide environmenta l counsel upon request to the
Environmental Council of the States. We’ve testied before
the United Nations. We’ve testied before the legislative
body of a foreign country that has asked that we not iden-
tify it. We also provide educational forums, a connection
with the Environmental Law Institute, the American Law
Institute, and other respected institutions. It a great privi-
lege for me to be here.
We’re very interested in t he future of environmental
law because, as you know, in case you may have missed
it, there’s an election. A nd the election is not only for the
president, but also for members of the U.S. Congress. In
the election rhetoric that has come up, there has been a lot
of talk—which in my view aects the integrity of the prin-
ciple of law. We are a nation of laws. e rule of law gives
stability and stabilizes our democracy. But laws are subject
to change, a s we all know. ey’re subject to cha llenge by
amendment, by obfuscation, and by ignorance.
One of the things that Timothy Egan of the New York
Times alerted me to in one of his August editorials was
a stunning set of facts. irty million America ns ca nnot
read. Most Americans cannot name the three branches of
our government. Most A merica ns cannot name a single
justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. e future of our laws
and the challenges that face it are very critical. e com-
ments of these panels will stimulate and interest all of us,
and provide us with greater insight into the future of envi-
ronmental law.
Copyright © 2017 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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