EES traces its beginning to 1971 when, in response to an increasing awareness of the adverse effects of environmental degradation upon the public health and welfare, the Pollution Control Section was added to the Land and Natural Resources Division. The Section was created to specialize in the handling of all civil and criminal litigation under the environmental regulatory statutes, which at the time consisted principally of the Clean Air Act. In subsequent years:
The Division also created the Hazardous Waste Section to begin enforcement in this new area of law.
The Division decided to separate offensive and defensive litigation responsibility in this area, which led to the division of the Pollution Control Section into the Environmental Enforcement Section and Pollution Control Section, respectively.
The original Pollution Control Section was renamed the Environmental Defense Section, and the Hazardous Waste Section’s affirmative/defensive components were divided into:
- the Environmental Enforcement Section; and
- the Environmental Defense Section.
The Environmental Crimes Unit was created within the Environmental Enforcement Section to specialize in prosecution of crimes under the criminal enforcement provisions of the environmental statutes.
The Environmental Crimes Unit became a separate Section within the Division, called the Environmental Crimes Section.
During the mid-to-late 1980’s, the Section experienced tremendous growth. Today, while the Section’s cases have increased in numbers and complexity, the number of attorneys remains the same as in 1991.