It’s a pleasure to join with so many colleagues and friends, and some very proud family members, as we celebrate this milestone in Ignacia Moreno ’s distinguished career. I know that Ignacia ’s family had to work around a couple of unexpected snow storms to be here, and we’re honored to have you all with us. I also want to thank my former colleague and good friend Judge Ricardo Urbina and Dennis Zotigh forparticipating in today ’s ceremony and helping us mark this very special, and very happy, occasion.
It’s my privilege to welcome Ignacia back to the Department of Justice.
I have no doubt that she will fulfill her new responsibilities with the same energy, integrity, and dedication that characterized her prior service. And I ’m grateful that she has enthusiastically accepted the opportunity to lead our Environment and Natural Resources Division.
Ignacia has the experience and broad perspective necessary to lead this work. She shares this Administration ’s strong commitment to environmental justice. And she was instrumental in developing and implementing the Department’s strategy to fulfill President Clinton’s Executive Order on Environmental Justice. In doing so, I assure you she did more than sit behind a desk drafting policy statements. In fact, she personally engaged in federal and state efforts to address pollution communities along the U.S.-Mexico border. She spent time in these areas. And she succeeded in improving access to safe drinking water for these residents.
Today, Ignacia stands ready to build on those achievements and to reinvigorate the Department’s commitment to environmental justice. Under her leadership, I know our Environment and Natural Resources Division will redouble its efforts to ensure that our most vulnerable communities are not disproportionately burdened by environmental and health hazards, and that these communities will be encouraged to participate in making local environmental decisions.
She’s shown outstanding leadership and initiative in forging partnerships across the administration, particularly with our colleagues at the Department of the Interior. And I’m heartened that she often points to the tribal values she’s observed – the philosophy that "our purpose on this Earth is to protect this Earth" – as guideposts for the work she now leads.
Although Ignacia has a deep understanding of regional concerns, she also brings a global perspective to addressing environmental challenges. During the Clinton Administration, she helped to develop this Department ’s international outreach efforts, recognizing that our most pressing environmental problems often require global solutions. In particular, she forged partnerships with our closest neighbors – Mexico and Canada – and helped to launch enforcement initiatives to reduce transboundary pollution. In the months ahead, I know that our Environment and Natural Resources Division will be a strong partner in the administration’s efforts to engage the international community in addressing climate change and other global environmental issues.
Ignacia, I congratulate you on your appointment. I thank you for your service to this department, to the American people, and to future generations who’ll inherit the world we now share. I look forward to continuing our work together.