Environmental Defense Section

Hocking Hills, OH in the spring.

Welcome to the Environmental Defense Section (EDS)

The Environmental Defense Section (EDS) represents the United States in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of pollution control statutes. EDS routinely handles both litigation in federal district court and cases within the original jurisdiction of the federal courts of appeals (i.e., petitions for review). EDS defends:

  • rules issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies under the pollution control laws;
  • the United States against claims for contribution, response costs, and natural resource damages at federally-owned and private Superfund sites; and
  • federal agencies accused of being in violation of pollution control statutes.

Although primarily a defensive section, EDS also brings enforcement actions against those who fill wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act.

Examples of the Section's work include:  defending EPA's series of regulations adopting the first controls on greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, the Agency’s national ambient air quality standards for ubiquitous pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, its ambitious “Cross-State Air Pollution Rule” aimed at attaining air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter in the eastern half of the country, and its regulations governing permitting of discharges from factory farms; defending the Army Corps of Engineers’ regulation of discharges of fill material in connection with activities such as development or mountaintop coal mining; and prosecuting civil enforcement actions under the Clean Water Act that have protected hundreds of thousands of wetland acres and recovered millions of dollars in penalties.

To learn more about EDS and its practice areas:


Updated May 4, 2015

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