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Fishing industry groups wanted to revive a harmful program that excluded otters from parts of their coastal habitat—but Earthjustice fought back.

California sea otters can keep swimming toward a full recovery. For the second time in two years, a federal judge has upheld the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to end a harmful “No Otter Zone” along the California coast. Fishing industry groups wanted to revive this ill-advised program, which was supposed to exclude the already threatened otters from parts of their historic range, but Earthjustice intervened in the case on behalf of the marine mammals.

Proposed legislation protects corporations and government agencies run amok, while closing the courtroom door to everyday people.

Editor's Note: On March 10, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 720, a bill that could have a chilling effect on people’s efforts to file lawsuits that may have untested or non-existent legal theory. The House also passed H.R. 985, the Class-Action Restrictions and Asbestos Trusts bill (H.R. 906 was merged with H.R.

The recent slew of administration attacks on protections for clean water, clean air and food and worker safety could send America back to a time of unchecked pollution.

In 1971, the EPA launched Documerica, a project to capture images of environmental problems, EPA activities and everyday life in America. Freelance photographers captured more than 15,000 photos of the heightened air and water crises of that time. These pictures show us the situation we could return to if we defang and defund the EPA. 

Everglades National Park

President Trump’s efforts to “drain the swamp” should not include shafting Everglades National Park. Shortly after the president’s nominee, Jeff Sessions, was confirmed as U.S. attorney general, officials at the South Florida Water Management District swiftly—and quietly—contacted the Department of Justice, which Sessions oversees. Why? The water managers are trying to weasel out of a commitment Florida made to the department nearly 25 years ago to clean up water pollution in the Everglades. 

Gutting this landmark conservation law, which has saved 99 percent of the species it protects, is a terrible idea.

Recently, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing to discuss “modernizing” the Endangered Species Act. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the committee chair, has long made it a priority to weaken this landmark conservation law, so savvy observers regard this rush for so-called “reform” as a thinly veiled attempt to gut the act.

Instead of making an effort to better protect our nation’s wildlife, the Senate appears to be taking us in the opposite direction. This is an early attempt to wriggle out of the government’s legal responsibility to prevent extinction.

More than 30 states have joined polluting industries, corporate agribusinesses and mega-developers in attacking the EPA’s Clean Water Rule.

Editor’s note 2/28/17: Today, President Trump issued an executive order directing the EPA to roll back the Clean Water Rule. The rule was put in place by the Obama administration to help ensure that ALL waters of the U.S. are protected, not just some. President Trump also directs the EPA to further weaken its application of the Clean Water Act, instructing the agency to follow an interpretation designed to reject Clean Water Act protections for many waters across the U.S.

Members of the Sacred Stone camp in North Dakota speak out against the Dakota Access Pipeline

President Trump’s recent trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture with black allies in tow, Omarosa Manigault and HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson, obscures the fact that his policies are poised to set back the very communities he claims to want to help.

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About the Earthjustice Blog

unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.