On November 16, 1909, Attorney General George Wickersham signed a two-page order creating "The Public Lands Division" of the Department of Justice to step into the breach and address the critical litigation that ensued. He assigned all cases concerning "enforcement of the Public Land Law," including Indian rights cases, to the new Division, and transferred a staff of nine -- six attorneys and three stenographers -- to carry out those responsibilities.
As the nation grew and developed, so did the responsibilities of the Division, and its name changed to the "Environment and Natural Resources Division" (ENRD) to better reflect those responsibilities. Today, the Division, which is organized into ten sections, has offices in Washington, D.C., Anchorage, Boston, Denver, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle, and a staff of over 600 people. It currently has over 7,000 active cases and matters, and has represented virtually every federal agency in courts in all fifty states, territories and possessions.
Each new generation of ENRD attorneys builds on the work of those who have come before. The Division was 100 years old on November 16, 2009. Beginning our second century, we are mindful of the strong legacy that we have inherited and the future opportunities that stretch before us.
100 years of ENRD
ENRD Assistant Attorneys General: Then and Now
Public Lands & National Treasures: The First 100 Years of the Environment & Natural Resources Division (PDF) 29.32 MB
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the ENRD Centennial Celebration
"The Justice Department's ENRD Celebrates 100th Anniversary." The Federal Lawyer. June 2009 pp.60-61. (PDF)
ENRD Hall of Honor: The Muskie-Chafee Award
Historical Timeline of Key Organization Events