David Shilton of the Appellate Section was recognized with the Division’s Muskie-Chafee Award at a gathering in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General yesterday. Mr. Shilton began working for DOJ in 1979 in the Appellate Section of ENRD, where he has since spent his career. Through his exceptional work and advocacy, he has profoundly influenced the growth and direction of environmental law over the past three decades. Early in Mr. Shilton’s career, he played a significant role in a broad range of ENRD’s subject matter areas: the development of the law regarding Indian Treaty Rights, U.S. v. State of Washington; the development of the Takings Doctrine (in a manner mindful of environmental concerns), Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City; and the interpretation of the Clean Water Act, Gwaltney v. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and the Clean Air Act, General Motors Corporation v. U.S. Mr. Shilton’s work defending the constitutionality of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is among his most notable accomplishments. Immediately following the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Lopez, in which the Court found that an act that made possession of a firearm within a school zone beyond the reach of Congress’s Commerce Clause authority, conservative activists brought a slew of cases challenging the constitutionality of the ESA. In an important test case the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) alleged that the “taking” provision of the ESA as applied to a species of fly found only in California also exceeded the Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause. Mr. Shilton convinced a conservative panel of the Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit that the Act was constitutional (NAHB v. Babbitt). His win in NAHB provided important ammunition to the Administration’s successful defense of the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. His output of excellent briefs has never wavered. To date, there are more than 400 federal court of appeals decisions bearing Mr. Shilton’s name. His advocacy has played a seminal role in the development of environmental law.
Ronald “Ron” E. Swan
Attorney, Office of the Solicitor, United States Department of the Interior
Mr. Swan recently retired from the Solicitor’s Office after an impressive and distinguished 38-year career in Washington DC, Oregon, and other Pacific Northwest states providing legal advice vital to effective implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Throughout his career, Mr. Swan worked on controversial and precedent-setting ESA issues including when re-initiating consultation is required under Section 7, Section 10 Habitat Conservation Plans, promulgation of a rule allowing translocation of the ESA listed Southern Sea Otters to aid recovery of that species, and the Northern Spotted Owl Exemption proceedings that culminated in the Northwest Forest Plan. Mr. Swan continued to work on Pacific Northwest Timber issues and served as an advisor and mentor to numerous Interior and ENRD attorneys who have worked on these cases over the years. His loyalty and commitment to development of sound policies and legal positions to protect endangered species and critical habitat are legend both within Interior and ENRD.
ENRD Deputy Assistant Attorney General
John Cruden is recognized for his many accomplishments while serving as ENRD’s career Deputy Assistant Attorney General from 1995 to 2011. During this tenure, John also served as Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section and as Acting Assistant Attorney General on multiple occasions. John has extensive personal experience litigating complex environmental cases. He is recognized for his commitment --- to legal excellence, to enforce and defend the federal laws protecting and conserving our environment, and to representing ENRD’s client agencies and the American people. During periods of transition, he has worked to assure that the institutional knowledge and integrity of the Division was recognized and respected. He has mentored, taught, trained and served as a role model or a colleague for a generation of ENRD attorneys. His unwavering commitment and tireless efforts to protect our environment and to the integrity of the legal profession is his legacy to ENRD.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Department of the Interior
Former ENRD Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Eileen Sobeck is responsible for the Nation's fish, wildlife, and plant conservation as well as the National Park System which is comprised of 392 areas covering more tha 84 million acres in the U.S. as well as American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Saipan, and the Virgin Islands. Ms. Sobeck began her service with ENRD in 1984 as a trial attorney and quickly moved through the ranks to become Assistant Chief, then Chief of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, then Deputy Assistant Attorney General where she supervised the Environmental Crimes and Wildlife and Marine Resources Sections. Ms. Sobeck was responsible for overseeing many significant cases as well as providing superb administrative oversight and training initiatives. She was recognized with the prestigious Presidential Rank Award in 2003.
Career Deputy Solicitor General
Edwin Kneedler has worked tireessly on behalf of the Environment and Natural Resources Division for many years. He is one of the most well known Supreme Court advocates in the nation, having now argued more than 100 cases. The list of cases that he has argued is legendary. Ed received his JD from the University of Virginia in 1974, clerked in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and then joined DOJ in 1975. He was Acting Solicitor General at the beginning of the Obama administration. Within DOJ, he is a recognized expert on Administrative Law, Native American Law, Fifth Amendment Takings, and Natural Resources issues and frequently advises and assists the Division in addition to his other responsibilities. He is also responsible for making appellate recommendations on natural resource issues, Fifth Amendment Takings, and Native American issues that must be approved by the Solicitor General.
Environmental Crimes Section
Assistant Chief, ENRD
John Webb, Assistant Chief of ECS and formerly of the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section, joined the Division in 1986 following eight years of service with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is the nation’s expert in the complex area of domestic and international wildlife crime enforcement. John developed innovative prosecution theories and methods, worked to increase penalties imposed on wildlife traffickers, enhanced the proficiency of our nation’s wildlife law enforcement agents, increased international understanding and cooperation in multilateral wildlife enforcement efforts, fostered cooperation between federal and state wildlife agencies, and promoted awareness of and proficiency in prosecuting wildlife cases by U.S. Attorney’s Offices.
Environmental Crimes Section
Senior Counsel, ENRD
Ray has dedicated his entire career to the Division. He began as an Honor Graduate in 1973 and was an original member of ECS 21 years ago. Ray has made numerous contributions to the enforcement of the nation’s environmental laws. He brought some of the nation’s first criminal prosecutions under the very statutes Senators Muskie and Chafee helped enact. He provided superb counsel to federal and state prosecutors and agents throughout the nation and helped craft the federal sentencing guidelines for environmental crimes --- watershed provisions that created a powerful deterrent to environmental crime. He has been principal author/editor of the Environmental Crimes Manual, program director for ECS’s successful annual conference, and the person responsible for the extensive on-line resources that ECS makes available to federal prosecutors nationwide.
These three sisters have dedicated many years (a combined total of nearly 100) to providing the best possible support to the mission of the Environment Division, each in a different way. All three have imparted a sense of dedication and professionalism to their staffs and are shining examples of committed public servants. Perhaps the sisters' biggest contribution has been the countless number of excellent hires they have identified for the Division--employees who have made numerous contributions in their own right and who have carried on the fine tradition of service taught to them by their mentors.
Ms. Steenland, now retired, began her career, as did her two sisters, as a legal secretary. After receiving her B.S. by attending night school, she was appointed the director of the Executive Office's Systems Group overseeing its first case management and attorney timekeeping system.
Ms. Barbour, also retired, was appointed as Director of the Administrative Services Group overseeing facilities and other support after working as secretary and staff assistant.
Ms. Stone currently is the Chief of the Administrative Unit in the Environmental Enforcement Section where she oversees the section's administrative activities including legal and case management support for a staff of nearly 250.
Land Acquisition Section
Senior Appraiser, ENRD
James is an extraordinary appraiser. His analytical skills, knowledge of appraisal standards and valuation case law; experience as a testifying expert witness; ability to write clearly and in a manner to educate less knowledgeable readers; adherence to the highest professional standards; and common sense set him apart from all other appraisers. Jim joined the Division in 1990 after setting his mark as a nationally renowned independent real property fee appraiser and expert witness. Since his arrival in the Division, he has conducted 3,340 reviews of real property appraisals totaling $18.19 billion. He personally transformed the Division’s Appraisal Unit from a parochial group serving the Land Acquisition Section’s litigators into one whose services are sought by all components of the Division and, indeed, the entire Department of Justice.
Environmental Enforcement Section
Counsel to the Chief, ENRD
Phil began his federal career as an attorney with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s Enforcement Division in 1984. He transferred to the Enforcement Section of the Environment Division in 1987 and since that time, has litigated some of the Division’s most high profile cases. Mr. Brooks represented the U.S. Army in a successful effort to recover millions of dollars in cleanup costs at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Superfund Site in Denver, Colorado, and was lead counsel in U.S. v. Stringfellow in which he successfully resolved the challenging and contentious issue of California’s liability for more than $100 million. Mr. Brooks serves as managing litigation counsel on the Section’s suite of enforcement actions against a host of coal-fired power plants for violations of the Clean Air Act. These lawsuits are the most complex and vigorously contested actions ever brought by EES.
Environmental Enforcement Section
Senior Counsel, ENRD
Dianne began working with ENRD in 1989. She achieved groundbreaking results in a series of landmark nationwide settlements under the Clean Air Act with major companies in heavily polluting industrial sectors, including the wood products industry, the steel mini-mill industry, the petroleum refining industry, and the agribusiness industry. Ms. Shawley is a nationally-recognized authority on issues involving the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration and an advocate for a national approach to Clean Air Act compliance. She was the lead attorney in cases against Koch Petroleum Group, L.P., among many others, covering 24 refineries, or 25 percent of the petroleum refining industry, for violations of the Clean Air Act. The resulting settlements provided for upgrades or new air pollution control equipment on all of the largest process units, and implemented procedures at all facilities designed to reduce and eliminate flaring of acid gas and other emissions.
General Litigation Section
Senior Litigation Counsel, ENRD
Andy began his career in the Division as an Honor Law Graduate in 1972. During his 30-year tenure, Mr. Walch made landmark contributions to protecting national parks, resolving interstate water disputes, and representing the United States’ interests on numerous natural resource issues. He has been a tireless leader and renowned advocate for the Department of Justice.
Myles E. Flint
Deputy Assistant Attorney General, ENRD
Myles joined the Environment Division in 1968 as a trial attorney, became an Assistant Chief and subsequently Chief of the Indian Resources Section, was appointed Chief of the General Litigation Section and in 1984, was appointed to Deputy Assistant Attorney General, the highest-ranking career position in the Division. Mr. Flint served in this position until his retirement in 1994. Myles Flint is a nationally-known expert in Indian law, water law and other areas of natural resources law. During his career with the Department, Mr. Flint distinguished himself as the lead attorney in several high-profile cases such as Arizona v. California, in which he obtained additional water rights for the Colorado River Indian Tribes, and the Pauley Petroleum litigation dealing with the government’s right to regulate drilling on the outer continental shelf.
Charles W. Findlay III ("Spinner Findlay")
General Litigation Section
Assistant Section Chief, ENRD
Spinner began his Environment Division career in 1978 as a trial attorney in the then-Marine Resources Section, transferring to the General Litigation Section in 1981 where he was later appointed as Assistant Section Chief. Prior to this time, Mr. Findlay worked in the Department of the Interior’s Solicitor’s Office in the Division of Energy and Resources, and served as the key contact on legislation, Executive Order and regulations dealing with the creation of the “new” Department of Energy. He engaged in intense, important negotiations between Interior and Energy representatives over the division of responsibility between the two agencies.
General Counsel, the Counsel on Environmental Quality
This office oversees the National Environmental Quality Act, which requires all federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of any proposed action. Ms. Bear is involved in almost every action the federal government takes, from the defense department’s procurement of new missile systems to permits for grazing on public lands and the federal trade commission’s promulgation of green advertising regulations. Ms. Bear has been in her position since 1983, through several Presidential administrations, and has provided invaluable assistance to the mission of ENRD.