Seth Barsky, Section Chief
The Wildlife and Marine Resources Section litigates civil cases under federal wildlife laws and laws concerning the protection of marine fish and mammals. Civil litigation, particularly under the Endangered Species Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, often pits the needs of protected species against pressures for development by both the Federal Government and private enterprise.
Lisa L. Russell, Section Chief
The Natural Resources Section is responsible for a diverse and extensive docket of primarily defensive litigation involving more than eighty statutes, treaties and the U.S. Constitution. The Section’s responsibilities include cases in virtually every U.S. district court of the Nation, its territories and possessions, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, and in state courts. The subject matter involves federal land, resource and ecosystem management decisions challenged under a wide variety of federal environmental statutes and affecting more than a half-billion acres of lands managed by the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture (totaling nearly one-quarter of the entire land mass of the United States) and an additional 300 million acres of subsurface mineral interests; vital national security programs involving military preparedness and border protection, nuclear materials management, and weapons system research; billions of dollars in constitutional claims of Fifth Amendment takings covering a broad spectrum of Federal activities affecting private property; challenges brought by individual Native Americans and Indian tribes relating to the United States’ trust responsibility; a panoply of cultural resource matters including cases related to historic buildings, repatriation of ancient human remains and salvage of shipwrecks; preserving federal water rights and prosecuting water rights adjudications; ensuring proper mineral royalty payments to the Treasury; and litigation involving offshore boundary disputes, interstate water compacts and other issues in Supreme Court original actions in coordination with the Office of the Solicitor General. The Section’s clients include virtually every major Federal executive branch agency.
Karen Wardzinski, Section Chief
The Law and Policy Section staff advises and assists the Assistant Attorney General on environmental legal and policy questions, particularly those that affect multiple sections in the Division. Working with the Office of Legislative Affairs, it coordinates the Division’s response to legislative proposals and Congressional requests, prepares for appearances of Division witnesses before Congressional committees, and drafts legislative proposals in connection with the Division’s work. Other duties include responding to congressional and citizen correspondence and FOIA requests, as well as serving as the Division’s ethics officer and counselor, alternative dispute resolution counselor, and liaison with state and local governments. Attorneys in the Section coordinate the Division’s amicus practice, handling many of these cases directly or together with Appellate, undertake other special litigation projects, and coordinate the Division’s involvement in international legal matters.
Andrew Goldfrank, Section Chief
The Land Acquisition Section is responsible for acquiring land through condemnation proceedings, for use by the Federal Government for purposes ranging from establishing public parks to creating missile sites. The Land Acquisition Section is also responsible for reviewing and approving title to lands acquired by direct purchase for the same purposes. The legal and factual issues involved are often complex and can include the power of the United States to condemn under specific acts of Congress, ascertainment of the market value of property, applicability of zoning regulations, and problems related to subdivisions, capitalization of income, and the admissibility of evidence.
Craig Alexander, Section Chief
The Indian Resources Section represents the United States in its trust capacity for Indian tribes and their members. These suits include establishing water rights, establishing and protecting hunting and fishing rights, collecting damages for trespass on Indian lands, and establishing reservation boundaries and rights to land. The Indian Resources Section also devotes approximately half of its efforts toward defending federal statutes, programs, and decisions intended to benefit Indians and Tribes. The litigation is of vital interest to the Indians and helps to fulfill an important responsibility of the federal government.
Andrew Collier, Executive Officer
The Executive Office provides management and administrative support to the Environment and Natural Resources Division, including financial management, human resources, automation, security, and litigation support. The Executive Office takes full advantage of cutting-edge technology to provide sophisticated automation facilities for its employees, including legal research, word processing, Internet access, electronic mail, litigation support, case management and timekeeping systems, to help the Division’s attorneys continue to achieve exceptional litigation results for the United States.
Thomas Mariani, Section Chief
The Environmental Enforcement Section is one of the largest litigating sections in the Department and includes nearly one-half of the Division’s lawyers. The Section is responsible for bringing civil judicial actions under most federal laws enacted to protect public health and the environment from the adverse effects of pollution, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Oil Pollution Act, RCRA and the Superfund law (CERCLA). The breadth of the Section’s practice is extensive and challenging. It includes cases of national scope, such as cases against multiple members of an identified industry, to obtain broad compliance with the environmental laws. Through its enforcement of the Superfund law, the Section seeks to compel responsible parties either to clean up hazardous waste sites or to reimburse the United States for the cost of cleanup, thereby ensuring that they, and not the public, bear the burden of paying for cleanup. The Superfund law is also a basis of the Section’s actions to recover damages for injury to natural resources that are under the trusteeship of federal agencies.
Letitia Grishaw, Section Chief
The Environmental Defense Section represents the United States in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of environmental statutes. EDS is the only section in the Environment Division that routinely handles cases in both federal circuit and district courts. EDS defends rules issued by EPA and other agencies under the pollution control laws, brings enforcement actions against those who destroy wetlands in violation of the Clean Water Act, and defends the United States against challenges to its cleanup and compliance actions at Superfund sites, federally-owned facilities and private sites.
Examples of the Section’s work include: defending EPA’s regulations governing permitting of discharges from factory farms, its ambitious “Clean Air Interstate Rule” aimed at attaining air quality standards for ozone and fine particulate matter in the eastern half of the country, the Agency’s efforts to revamp the Clean Air Act new source review program, and its safety standards for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada; defending challenges to the United States’ implementation of international treaties involving the elimination of chemical weapons; 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.
Deborah L. Harris, Section Chief
The Environmental Crimes Section is responsible for prosecuting individuals and corporations that have violated laws designed to protect the environment. It is at the forefront in changing corporate and public awareness to recognize that environmental violations are serious infractions that transgress basic interests and values. The Section works closely with criminal investigators for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in dealing with violations of such statutes as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, more commonly known as Superfund), the Lacey Act, and the Endangered Species, among other statutes.
Jean was appointed as a career Deputy Assistant Attorney General in 2010. She had previously served ENRD for 27 years in the Wildlife and Marine Resources Section where she started as a Trial Attorney and then became an Assistant Chief and Section Chief. Over her longstanding service supervising both criminal and civil litigation, Jean has provided counsel to high-level political appointees and policymakers at the Justice Department as well as to Wildlife's client agencies, on their legal obligations and legal strategy. She has worked to resolve interagency conflicts concerning the application of Wildlife laws to agency activities. Jean has been responsible for such high-profile cases as the Navy Sonar cases, restoration of the Florida Everglades, and major hydroelectric power dam and reservoir systems that supply major portions of the nation's power and flood control in major river basins. She has provided stellar representation to the Forest Service, the Army Corps of Engineers, various entities within the Department of Defense, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, among others. Jean earned her J. D. from Tulane University School of Law.
Bruce S. Gelber
Bruce Gelber was appointed as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in 2011. He has served the Division for 26 years in the Environmental Enforcement Section, one of the Department’s largest litigating sections, joining it as a Trial Attorney in 1985 and serving as an Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief and, since October 2000, as Section Chief. Mr. Gelber served as lead counsel for the U.S. in the seminal environmental Superfund case involving the Love Canal Landfill. He has supervised a broad range of civil litigation under the environmental protection statutes, including litigation under the Clean Air Act against industries as varied as petroleum refineries, coal-fired power plants, and wood processors, to secure reductions in harmful air emissions; litigation that secured the agreement of numerous municipalities to make capital improvements to their sewage and stormwater collection systems to reduce the discharge of millions of gallons of raw sewage into local waters; and litigation that obtained agreements to clean up hazardous waste sites around the country and recovered billions of dollars for the Superfund to finance future cleanups. Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Gelber was General Counsel of the National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing. He earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A from Cornell University, summa cum laude.
James C. Kilbourne, Section Chief
The Appellate Section’s work involves cases arising under the more than 200 statutes for which the Division has litigation responsibility. Section attorneys brief and argue appeals in all thirteen federal circuit courts of appeals around the country, as well as in state courts of appeals and supreme courts. The Section handles appeals in all cases tried in the lower courts by any of the sections within the Division; it also oversees or handles directly appeals in cases within the Division’s jurisdiction that were tried in the lower courts by U.S. Attorney Offices. The Section’s responsibility also includes petitions for review filed directly in the courts of appeals in environmental or natural resource cases involving the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the Surface Transportation Board. The Section works closely with Justice’s Office of the Solicitor General, making recommendations whether to appeal adverse district court decisions or to seek Supreme Court review of adverse appellate decisions. The Section writes draft briefs for the Solicitor General in Division cases before the Supreme Court.
Jeffrey H. Wood, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General
Jeffrey H. Wood began serving as Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) on January 20, 2017. He previously served as environmental counsel for U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions and as the Republican staff director for the U.S. Senate Subcommittees on Clean Air & Nuclear Safety and Water & Wildlife. In addition to his government service, Jeff’s career has included time as a partner in the environmental and energy practice groups of a private law firm and as in-house counsel for a transportation company. He earned his undergraduate and law degrees from Florida State University.