Op-ed by Esther Calhoun, president of Black Belt Citizens for Health & Justice, a grassroots environmental justice group.
Washington, D.C. Office
Washington, D.C. is where our nation's most important environmental laws are made. Earthjustice's Washington, D.C. office opened in 1978. We collaborate with and complement the work of local, regional and national groups working to safeguard public health and the environment in the Mid-Atlantic region and nationwide.
A sampling of the Washington, D.C.'s office's work includes:
Strengthening National Air Quality Standards
The Washington, D.C. office works at the federal level to strengthen air quality standards across the nation. More protective standards will also force adoption of the more stringent pollution controls in the national capital region, to the benefit of its millions of residents.
Restoring the Anacostia River
For decades, the Anacostia River has suffered the effects of an antiquated sewer system, urban runoff, and stormwater pollution. Earthjustice’s legal work has been critical to reversing decades of neglect and putting the river on a path to a cleaner future. Earthjustice is committed to an Anacostia River fully restored to the outstanding natural resource it once was, by securing stronger efforts to curb stormwater pollution, addressing toxic pollution in the Anacostia riverbed, defending the gains we have made against combined sewer overflows, securing a stronger cap on trash pollution in the Anacostia River, and more.
Ensuring Clean, Affordable Energy Resources for All of Maryland’s Communities
In Maryland and across the country, energy investment and policy decisions are being made today that will shape our future for decades to come. Now is the time to reduce our reliance on dirty energy resources and ramp up investment in clean energy resources, including what should be our country’s first fuel, energy efficiency, for the benefit of all communities. In collaboration with our partners, Earthjustice works to ensure state utilities tap the potential for significant energy savings across all customer sectors.
Improving Air Quality In the Mid-Atlantic Region
In its 2015 State of the Air Report, the American Lung Association gave the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. metropolitan area a grade of "F" for ozone pollution (smog) levels. Breathing ozone is linked to an array of serious health impacts, including bronchitis, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and premature deaths. Coal-fired power plants are Maryland’s largest individual sources of nitrogen oxides (NOx), one of the pollutants that causes ground-level ozone.
Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Industrialization, sewage, and both urban and agricultural runoff have transformed Chesapeake Bay from a once vibrant and thriving ecosystem, into a heavily polluted waterway where health advisories against swimming or eating local seafood are the norm. Though there have been some improvements, due in part to the work of Earthjustice and our partners, much more remains to be done to restore this ecosystem to health, by reducing stormwater pollution, preventing sediment pollution in the Upper Chesapeake Bay, reducing trash in our waterways, addressing nutrient pollution, protecting local streams, and more.
The Oceans Program
Earthjustice's Oceans Program is also located in the Washington, D.C., office. Oceans, the lifeblood of our planet, are threatened by pollution, overfishing, habitat destruction, and climate change. Partnering with conservation groups, fishing communities, and international organizations, Earthjustice advocates for sustainable ocean fisheries and reduced bycatch by:
- Pushing federal and state fisheries managers to adopt ecosystem-based management plans that protect the forage fish that keystone predators such as tuna, sharks, turtles, whales and seabirds rely upon for sustenance. These plans also focus on preserving ecosystem engineers—species that create or maintain habitat for other species.
- Advocating for improved bycatch monitoring and bycatch reduction, especially in fisheries that target at-risk species such as sharks, swordfish, tuna and forage species.
- Restricting the use of harmful fishing gear like gill nets, bottom trawls and longlines, which devastate ocean ecosystems.
- Working with fisheries regulators to ensure that managers take into account impacts on fish populations from warming sea temperatures, ocean acidification and sea-level rise.
The Oceans program additionally focuses on:
- Protecting fragile marine ecosystems like coral reefs and kelp forests, and
- Defending imperiled marine species from harmful noise pollution such as sonar.
Read about a few of the Washington, D.C., office's significant victories:
- Court Finds That Maryland Failed to Protect Rivers From Pollution
- U.S. Court of Appeals Throws Out Dangerous Loopholes for Burning Hazardous Waste
- Federal Court Denies PVC Industry Request to Delay Pollution Protections
- Federal Appeals Court Upholds Clean Air Standards for Soot
- Reversing Lower Court, Supreme Court Clears Away Key Obstacle to Major Interstate Air Pollution Safeguard
Each year, Earthjustice achieves more than fifty victories. See all recent victories from Washington, D.C., and across Earthjustice.
Contact D.C. Office
1625 Mass. Ave., NW, Ste. 702
Washington, D.C. 20036
Lisa Garcia VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities
David Baron Managing Attorney, Washington, D.C.
Jill Tauber Managing Attorney, Clean Energy
Timothy Ballo Sr. Associate Attorney
Jennifer Chavez Staff Attorney
Emma Cheuse Staff Attorney
Khushi Desai Staff Attorney
Phillip Ellis Senior Press Secretary
Colleen Fitzgerrell Litigation Assistant
Roger Fleming Staff Attorney
Howard Fox Counsel
Lisa Fuhrmann Litigation Assistant
Erica Fuller Sr. Associate Attorney
Matthew Gerhart Sr. Associate Attorney
Neil Gormley Associate Attorney
Carter Hall Law Fellow
Jessica Hodge Advocacy Communications Manager
Julie James Sr. Office Manager
Seth Johnson Sr. Associate Attorney
Priya Kamath Oceans Litigation Assistant
Albert Lin Litigation Assistant
Queen Martin Office Assistant
Jose Mendez Network & Systems Administrator
Susan Stevens Miller Clean Energy Attorney
Nick Morales Associate Attorney
Patrick Ogbeide Support Technician I
Chinyere Osuala Clean Energy Associate Attorney
James Pew Staff Attorney
Alyssa Ritterstein Press Secretary
Steve Roady Senior Attorney, Oceans
Keith Rushing Lead Advocacy Press Secretary
Gordon Sommers Associate Attorney
Michael Soules Staff Attorney