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Press Release

On “American Eagle Day” the Justice Department Highlights its Longstanding Role in Protecting the Nation’s Eagle Populations

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

In recognition of June 20, 2017, as American Eagle Day, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) issued the following statement:


“Our Division is proud to play a central role in the protection of the bald eagle, our national symbol and a distinctive emblem of freedom and the sovereignty of the United States. Over the course of many years, the lawyers in our Division have worked to promote conservation of lands and resources across the United States and to enforce federal laws protecting our natural treasures, including wildlife like bald eagles, golden eagles, and other raptors. As we celebrate American Eagle Day, we also honor the work of our client agencies—the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service at the U.S. Department of Interior, in particular—as well as state conservation agencies and private citizens around the nation for their vital work in this area.”


On June 15, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution designating June 20, 2017, as “American Eagle Day” and celebrating the recovery and restoration of the bald eagle. By 1963, only an estimated 417 nesting pairs of bald eagles remained in the lower 48 states. Through the extraordinary efforts of American citizens around the country, including state and federal agencies, conservations groups, and private landowners, the bald eagle once again began to flourish. By 2007, the number of nesting pairs of eagles in the lower 48 states increased to approximately 11,000, and the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ultimately determined that the bald eagle is no longer endangered or threatened.


The attorneys in the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the U.S. Department of Justice have a key role in efforts related to bald eagle protection under the laws passed by Congress, including the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Lacey Act. The Division’s Wildlife and Marine Resources Section represents the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other wildlife agencies in litigation involving the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and other federal wildlife conservation laws. The Division’s Environmental Crimes Section brings criminal cases against individuals and organizations that break the laws that protect our nation’s ecological and wildlife resources.


The bald eagle is prominently featured in the official seal of the U.S. Department of Justice.


For more information about the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, please visit its website at

Updated June 20, 2017

Press Release Number: 17-679