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In January 1991, just four weeks after joining the Justice Department’sEnvironmental Crimes Section as an entry-level attorney, I traveled to NewOrleans to attend an environmental enforcement conference. The conferencewas attended by hundreds of criminal prosecutors and civil attorneys from theJustice Department, as well as enforcement officials from the EnvironmentalProtection Agency (“EPA”). It was a propitious time for environmental protec-tion efforts in the United States. Less than two months earlier, President GeorgeH. W. Bush had signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, culminating aremarkable twenty-year period that created the modern environmental law sys-tem in the United States. My new office, although only three years old, was leading the prosecution of Exxon Corporation and Exxon Shipping for the Ex-xon Valdez oil spill,3 which would result in the largest fines imposed for envi-ronmental crime until the criminal prosecutions of BP and Transocean for theGulf oil spill during 2012 and 2013.