June 22, 2011

John C. Cruden Named President of Environmental Law Institute

Posted on June 22, 2011 by Rachael Bunday

Respected DOJ Attorney Will Focus on Building Consensus, 

Preserving the Rule of Law

The Board of Directors of the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) announced on June 13th, that John C. Cruden has been selected as the organization’s fourth President. Mr. Cruden will join ELI from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), where he serves as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. 

In his tenure at DOJ, Mr. Cruden helped shape comprehensive solutions to some of our nation’s most complex and controversial environmental disasters including Love Canal, Exxon Valdez and, most recently, Deepwater Horizon. Known for his negotiating and problem-solving skills as well as his expertise in the courtroom, Mr. Cruden has earned broad respect for his ability to work with diverse parties and his focus on preserving what works best in our nation’s laws.

ELI Board Chairman William Eichbaum, Vice President of Marine and Arctic Policy for the World Wildlife Fund, praised Mr. Cruden for his leadership, integrity and ability to build consensus around highly charged issues.

“The increasingly contentious and partisan conversations about the environment undermine the effective application of law and environmental policies, and, with them, decades of environmental progress,” said Eichbaum. “John has been enormously effective at changing that dynamic. He has an unmatched track record of bringing people together and creating real, meaningful solutions to today’s toughest environmental challenges. He has the deep respect and admiration of environmentalists, corporate CEOs, the legal community, and policymakers, and he brings that proven experience and intense commitment to ELI. Together, we will redouble our efforts to make sure the law works for the environment.”  

“The nation and the world are at an important crossroads,” said Cruden. “For 40 years, the U.S. has been among the world leaders in developing a legal framework to control pollution and manage our natural resources. Republican and Democratic presidents passed historic laws with broad bi-partisan support from Congress that benefit our nation, our people and our economy.  That legacy—the essential framework of an efficient system of governance and level playing field grounded in the rule of law, sound science and public participation—is in jeopardy. 

ELI plays a critical role promoting sound law and policy solutions to tough environmental problems. I am truly honored to join this extraordinary organization, and I look forward to doing great things together.”

At the Department of Justice, Mr. Cruden has been in senior leadership positions for over two decades, leading the Department in environmental civil litigation. Before joining the Department, he held a number of important positions including Chief Legislative Counsel of the Army, General Counsel of the Defense Nuclear Agency, and a Staff Judge Advocate in Europe. Mr. Cruden has also served as the President of the District of Columbia Bar – the first government attorney to be elected to and serve in that position – and is currently the Immediate Past Chairman of the ABA Section of Environment, Energy and Resources and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. A graduate of West Point, he served in airborne, ranger and special forces units in Germany and Vietnam before attending Santa Clara Law School. Mr. Cruden is also a swim coach for the Special Olympics and a past recipient of Fairfax County’s Volunteer of the Year award for his work with mentally handicapped children. 

ELI’s third president, Leslie Carothers, is retiring after eight years of service.  She will be a scholar-in-residence and teach a research seminar at Pace University Law School in the 2011-2012 academic year.  Pace offers one of the nation’s leading environmental law programs as part of its curriculum.  “ELI is profoundly grateful for Leslie’s leadership and stewardship,” said Eichbaum. “The next generation of environmental lawyers coming out of Pace will benefit enormously from her insights and practical experiences.”

For more information on ELI and John Cruden, please click here

You may also view a video of John discussing his new role as ELI President by clicking here.

ELI fosters innovative, just, and practical law and policy solutions to enable leaders across borders and sectors to make environmental, economic, and social progress. ELI delivers timely, insightful, impartial analysis to opinionmakers, including government officials, environmental and business leaders, and journalists. ELI is a clearinghouse and a town hall, providing common ground for debate on important environmental issues.

For more information, please contact Brett Kitchen at kitchen@eli.org.

Environmental Law Institute

2000 L St. NW Suite 620

Washington, DC 20036


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