Located in New York City, the Northeast office’s work includes stopping the pollution of water supplies, fixing our nation's broken toxics regulatory system, reining in the harmful effects of oil and gas development, and moving the region away from coal and toward a more sustainable energy future. Learn about some of the office's current and past legal cases.
Reining in Destructive Oil and Gas Development
As the oil and gas industry continues its efforts to expand the use of hydraulic fracturing, communities across the United States are joining forces to protect their neighborhoods and natural resources from its harmful impacts. Through advocacy, coalition building, and strategic litigation, Earthjustice is helping to counter the industry’s power and elevate the grassroots, with the Northeast office at the forefront of efforts to head off the fracking boom in regions overlying the Marcellus Shale.
- Defending Community Control Over Fracking: In 2014, Earthjustice won a precedent-setting legal victory when New York’s highest court upheld the right of municipalities to use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within their borders—a resounding triumph for the 80 New York communities that have banned fracking and for the hundreds of communities around the country hoping to leverage local laws to protect their health and homes from fracking threats.
- Resisting Infrastructure Expansion: The de facto moratorium on fracking in New York never stopped the oil and gas industry from bounding ahead with infrastructure development that could force the United States to rely on natural gas for decades to come. Earthjustice has been working to block industry infrastructure expansion in the Northeast.
- Protecting the Public’s Right to Know, Fracking Chemicals: Until recently, the oil and gas industry operated behind a veil of secrecy, withholding the identity of chemicals used in the drilling process. We’ve now learned that many of the hundreds of chemicals used in fracking are toxic and that some are endocrine disruptors, causes of respiratory problems, or known carcinogens. Earthjustice has pushed hard for greater transparency in drilling practices to ensure that people have enough information to protect themselves from chemical exposure.
Shifting From Coal to Clean Energy
Earthjustice works to steer the United States away from fossil fuel dependence and toward a clean energy economy that promotes healthy communities, green jobs, and social justice. We’re using a three-pronged strategy to accelerate the movement away from coal:
- Strengthening the federal air, water, and waste regulations that apply to coal plants.
- Seeking to ensure that coal plants fully comply with those federal standards, through permitting and enforcement work.
- Using litigation in public utility commissions to prevent the industry from passing on to ratepayers the costs of uneconomic coal plants.
By requiring the industry—and not the American people—to pay the true cost of burning coal, Earthjustice levels the political and economic playing field for wind, solar, energy efficiency, and other clean energy solutions.
Fighting for Healthy Communities
Earthjustice is committed to protecting the health of all communities against the effects of toxic chemicals in our air, water, food, and consumer products. With conservation and health advocates, and with affected communities, we work to secure strong new protections from air and water pollution—and to make sure those standards are enforced.
- Reining in Chemical Secrecy: A loophole in our current chemical laws allows manufacturers to assert that any information about the chemicals they use is “confidential business information,” thus keeping important information from the public—including medical professionals, research institutions, and public health officials. Even chemicals that the manufacturer admits pose a substantial risk to public health or the environment can be shielded, and routinely are.
- Addressing the Dangers of Flame Retardants: Flame retardants are among more than 80,000 chemicals on the market that have not been adequately tested for health and safety. The chemicals migrate continuously out from everyday household products into the air and dust. Earthjustice is working with a broad coalition of health, firefighter, consumer, and science groups to protect people from these chemicals.
- Regulating Pollution From Industrial Farms: Earthjustice works to curb the pollution produced by concentrated animal feeding operations, facilities that raise large numbers of livestock in a confined space and as a result produce huge amounts of waste that can adversely impact not only food safety but air quality and water supplies. These facilities are frequently located near low-income communities and communities of color, which are disproportionately impacted by the pollution they generate.
Read about a few of the Northeast office's significant victories:
- Cleaner Energy is Coming to Missouri as Utility Announces Coal Plant Retirements
- A Day in Hog Heaven After Judge Orders Feds to Evaluate Factory Farm's Impacts
- Court Upholds Federal Rule That Will Ease Transition from Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy
- New York Communities Triumph Over Fracking Industry In Precedent-Setting Case
- Tennessee Valley Authority to Retire the Allen Fossil Plant
Each year, Earthjustice achieves more than fifty victories. See all recent victories from the Northeast and across Earthjustice.
Contact Northeast Office
48 Wall Street, 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10005
Abigail Dillen VP of Litigation for Climate & Energy
Lisa Garcia VP of Litigation for Healthy Communities
Deborah Goldberg Managing Attorney, Northeast
Christopher Amato Staff Attorney
Alexis Andiman Associate Attorney
Lindsay Burtchell Individual Gift Officer
Hannah Chang Staff Attorney
Alok Disa Litigation Assistant
Allison Kvien Legal Fellow
Marianne Engelman Lado Sr. Staff Attorney
Christine Qubain Ernst Law Grad Clerk
Eve Gartner Staff Attorney
Peter Lehner Sr. Staff Attorney
Mariana Lo Litigation Assistant
Moneen Nasmith Staff Attorney
Dawa Sherpa Office Assistant
Jonathan Smith Associate Attorney
Tyler Smith Sr. Research & Policy Analyst
Anne-Marie Stehn Office Manager
Kathleen Scatassa Advocacy Communications Manager