John C. Cruden, left, serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In that capacity, he is responsible for supervising a wide variety of environmental litigation, including civil enforcement actions in federal court for the key federal environmental statutes, including Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, RCRA, Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Superfund law.
2008 EJ Conference, Inc.: What is the mission of the Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) in the U.S. Department of Justice?
Mr. Cruden: The primary mission of ENRD is: (1) to represent the United States in enforcing the nation’s environmental and natural resources laws; and (2) to defend federal agencies that carry out policies and programs to implement these and other laws. ENRD has a docket of well over 7,000 pending cases and matters, with litigation in every judicial district in the nation. We are responsible for cases arising from more than 70 different environmental and natural resources laws.
2008 EJ Conference, Inc.: How does ENRD incorporate EJ into its mission?
Mr. Cruden: ENRD’s commitment to fairness and consistency in adopting, applying and enforcing all laws includes our strong position that no community should be subject to environmental harms stemming from illegal activity.
2008 EJ Conference, Inc.: What is your role in the 2008 EJ Conference?
Mr. Cruden: I am scheduled to make a presentation during the Conference’s plenary session on Thursday, May 22 along with representatives from EPA and the US Department of Energy.
2008 EJ Conference, Inc.: What message would you like those attending the Conference to take home?
Mr. Cruden: As we have described, environmental justice is an important part of the mission of the Environment and Natural Resources Division in the Department of Justice. ENRD addresses environmental justice concerns in our cases - both enforcement and defensive - and assists other agencies and communities through the Interagency Working Group under the Executive Order.