2014 Docket

2014 Legal Docket
Litigation Spotlight

Earthjustice attorneys represent public-interest clients concerned about threats to the environment and hold accountable those who jeopardize the health of our planet. Thanks to the generosity of our many supporters, we provide expert legal support free of charge to groups large and small.

The 2014 legal docket outlines several of the most important legal battles in our fight to secure lasting protections that help restore the earth to ecological balance and ensure a healthy environment for all people.

Preserving the Wild

The threats to our irreplaceable wildlife and wild places have never been greater—from the push to open public lands to drilling, mining, and logging, to the impacts of climate change, which are threatening to disrupt entire ecosystems.

Earthjustice fights to protect our magnificent parks and wildlife, old-growth forests, roadless wilderness areas, and lakes, rivers, and oceans—now and for generations to come.

Safeguarding Bees From Toxic Pesticides

A world without bees would be unthinkable—it's estimated that a third of the food we eat comes from crops that depend on bees for pollination. But honeybees have been dying at unprecedented rates, and scientists believe toxic pesticides may be a contributing factor.

To give these tiny, essential pollinators a chance at survival, Earthjustice is in court challenging the EPA's approval of a new "neonicotinoid" pesticide called sulfoxaflor, which is highly toxic to bees.
 Read More

Photo courtesy of Vijay SRV
Helping Sea Otters Survive

Once hunted to near-extinction, sea otters along California's coast are still struggling despite recovery efforts. To thrive, they need to be able to range freely along the coast, so the federal government recently abandoned its otter exclusion zone south of Point Conception.

Some commercial fishing groups sued, claiming the otters' appetite for sea urchins and shellfish would hurt their economic interests—Earthjustice is stepping in to defend the government's decision.  Read More

Jean Edouard Rozey / Shutterstock
Preserving the Arctic

One of the world's spectacular wild places, the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet. As its sea ice melts, oil companies are eager to start drilling in this fragile environment, where spills would threaten endangered bowhead whales, polar bears, and other iconic species.

Earthjustice is fighting risky plans to drill in American Arctic waters and urging President Obama to stop drilling in the Arctic Ocean as part of his commitment to take action against climate change.  Read More

Photo by Florian Schulz / visionsofthewild.com
Protecting Endangered Manatees

Manatees are washing up dead in record numbers on Florida's coasts, and experts point to toxic algae ("green slime") in the state's waterways as a likely cause.

Earthjustice forced the Environmental Protection Agency to set limits on the pollution that causes the problem, but the agency turned around and approved a state plan making it easier for the worst polluters to skirt the law. Now we're back in court to force EPA to protect manatees and clean up Florida's waterways.  Read More

Liquid Productions / Shutterstock
Defending Gray Wolves in Wyoming

Wyoming's wolves are being hunted and shot on sight—and Earthjustice is fighting to protect them.

Once nearly wiped out in the lower-48 states, wolves have been making a comeback, thanks to recovery efforts. But the government stripped Endangered Species Act protections from Wyoming's wolves, subjecting them to state law that declares them vermin across most of the state and provides inadequate protection in the rest. Earthjustice is seeking to restore needed ESA protections to these icons of the wild.  Read More

National Park Service Photo
Blocking Coal Mining in Alaska

Alaska's Canyon Creek, near the Iditarod dog sled trail, is far from roads and other major development. Recently, the state decided to open nearly 20 square miles of this pristine area to coal strip mining, threatening the water, air, and wildlife, including the abundant wild salmon that spawn in its clear streams.

The 258 million tons of coal from this mine, bound for Asia, could power 189 power plants for a year, accelerating climate change. Earthjustice is fighting any attempt to open this mine.  Read More

Photo courtesy of Nick Rahaim

Our Natural Heritage Clients Include:

Alaska Center for the Environment, Alaska Community Action on Toxics, Alaska Survival, American Beekeeping Federation, Center for Biological Diversity, Chickaloon Village Traditional Council, Chuitna Citizens Coalition, Cook Inletkeeper, Defenders of Wildlife, Envision Mat-Su, Friends of the Sea Otter, Humane Society of the United States, Sierra Club. [See more clients]

Protecting Our Health

Earthjustice works to safeguard the fundamentals of human health: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the products we rely on.

We force industry to clean up pollution, work to ban the most toxic pesticides and chemicals, push manufacturers to disclose ingredients in household products, and reform ineffective chemical safety laws. We're fighting to make our communities safer, healthier places to live and work.

Protecting Communities From Fracking

Across the country, companies are rushing to drill for oil and gas using risky hydraulic fracturing techniques. Despite growing evidence that "fracking" can have serious impacts on the air and water of nearby communities, it's still inadequately regulated.

Earthjustice is defending communities' right to ban fracking, pushing government to develop safeguards in places where it is allowed, and litigating to force companies to disclose toxic chemicals used in the process and their health impacts.  Read More

Photo by Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Strengthening National Air Regulations

Earthjustice is fighting for stronger limits on ozone, also known as smog—air pollution linked to premature deaths, thousands of emergency room visits, and tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year. The EPA's science advisors and the nation's leading medical organizations agree that stronger national ozone standards are needed to save lives and prevent sickness.

Currently, we're fighting to force the EPA to take action on overdue new smog standards and against industry demands for weaker rules.  Read More

Photo courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Library Archive
Cleaning Up Dirty Cement Plants

Cement plants are some of our nation's worst sources of toxic pollution, spewing soot, mercury, and other hazardous pollutants into the air. Earthjustice won strong standards that limit the pollution from these plants, but the EPA turned around and weakened them, and opened up a loophole making enforcement much more difficult.

Now we're back in court to force the government to close the loophole and live up to its long-overdue obligations to protect communities harmed by cement plant pollution.  Read More

Photo courtesy of Samantha Bornhorst
Combatting Wood Smoke Pollution

Every winter, communities across the country are smoked out by the pollution from wood-fired furnaces and boilers.

Wood smoke from these heaters contains harmful toxins and fine particles that are linked to the worsening of asthma and other respiratory problems, especially in young children. The EPA hasn't updated its emissions standards for these devices for more than a quarter-century, despite improvements in technology, so Earthjustice is fighting to require the agency to take action.  Read More

Photo courtesy of Samuel Houchins
Fighting to Protect Communities

Almost 4 million tons of coal ash from a disastrous 2008 spill in Tennessee has been dumped in the mostly African-American community of Uniontown, Alabama. This toxic waste, filled with arsenic, mercury, lead, and other hazardous chemicals, threatens residents' health.

With no environmental standards in place to protect them from the impacts of this waste, local residents are fighting to hold the state of Alabama accountable—and Earthjustice is there to represent them.  Read More

Photo by Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Reducing Toxic Power Plant Pollution

Earthjustice won a major victory when the federal government adopted a new rule that will require substantial reductions in power plants' emissions of mercury, arsenic, and other dangerous pollutants. When plants begin to comply with the rule in 2015, the reductions in fine particulate pollution alone are expected to prevent between 4,200 and 11,000 premature deaths each year.

Now we're back in court defending the rule against industry lawsuits that seek to scuttle or weaken it.  Read More

Photo by Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice

Our Health Clients Include:

American Lung Association, Cape Fear River Watch, Center For Biological Diversity, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Citizens' Environmental Coalition, Clean Air Council, Clean Water Action, Desert Citizens Against Pollution, Downwinders At Risk, Friends Of Hudson, Earthworks, Environmental Working Group, NAACP, Philadelphia Physicians For Social Responsibility, Town Of Dryden. [See more clients]

Advancing Clean Energy

Climate change is the single greatest threat facing the world today, but we can still avoid its most severe impacts if we dramatically change the way we produce and use energy.

Earthjustice is fighting hard to move the country away from fossil fuels, while at the same time working to improve energy efficiency and reform the electrical grid to support clean, renewable energy.

Developing a Clean Energy Infrastructure

Earthjustice is working to make California's energy system a model for the future by pushing conservation and renewable power to the center of the planning process.

We are making the case with the California Public Utilities Commission to expand the state's capacity to store energy, and advocating for other policies that reduce the need for gas-fired power plants, cut climate change pollution, and lay the groundwork for transforming the energy supply. Because California is a leader when it comes to innovative policies, this work is likely to have an impact far outside the state's borders.  Read More

Photo courtesy of SouthWings
Blocking Drilling Near Glacier National Park

The rush to exploit dirty fossil fuels across the U.S. is threatening to destroy some of our most precious natural places—like the pristine wild lands near Glacier National Park known as the Badger-Two Medicine region. Sacred to the Blackfeet Tribe, the area is important to many for its wilderness qualities and wildlife such as elk and grizzly bears.

An oil company is suing to force the government to immediately allow drilling for oil and gas there—and Earthjustice is fighting back.  Read More

Photo courtesy of Gene Sentz
Promoting Energy

The quickest, cheapest way to fight climate change is to make buildings and appliances use less energy, but we won't do it just by changing lightbulbs.

That's why Earthjustice is fighting for tough new energy efficiency standards for everything from furnace fans and water heaters to battery chargers. We're also working to ensure consumers get the information they need to make the most energy-efficient choices. Our work is delivering huge dollar savings as well as significant energy savings.  Read More

Photo courtesy of P. Gordon
Stopping Mountaintop Removal Mining

Mountaintop removal mining is devastating Appalachia, turning areas once lush with forests and wildlife into barren moonscapes and polluting the air and water. People who live near these mines suffer from higher than usual rates of cancer, birth defects, heart disease, and other health problems.

Earthjustice is fighting to block new mountaintop removal mines like the proposed Stacy Branch Mine in eastern Kentucky, and ultimately to end this destructive practice.
 Read More

Photo courtesy of OVEC
Protecting Montana From Coal Mining

A coal company is proposing to mine a reserve of 1.3 billion tons of coal in Montana's Otter Creek Valley. Strip mining operations would dirty the air and degrade the water quality of this wildlife-rich area, and burning the coal would release 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide pollution into the atmosphere.

Earthjustice is working to stop this destructive project before it gets started, coordinating with concerned residents, including ranchers and Northern Cheyenne tribal members.  Read More

Photo courtesy of MEIC
Opposing a Gas Export Terminal

Earthjustice is opposing an export terminal facility for liquefied natural gas proposed for Chesapeake Bay. Operating the terminal—from liquefying the gas to shipping it overseas in 1,000-foot tankers—would emit thousands of tons of dangerous air pollutants and millions of tons of greenhouse gases, threatening public health and worsening climate change.

The terminal would also encourage more dangerous hydraulic fracturing for natural gas from the Marcellus Shale.
 Read More

Photo courtesy of John H. Gray

Our Clean Energy Clients Include:

Appliance Standards Awareness Project, Blackfeet Headwaters Alliance, Glacier-Two Medicine Alliance, Kentuckians For The Commonwealth, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Montana Environmental Information Center, National Parks Conservation Association, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Citizen. [See more clients]

And There's More.

Earthjustice's complete docket includes about 300 active legal cases.

And since our founding, more than four decades ago, we've provided legal representation at no cost to more than 1,000 clients, from community-based groups to national environmental organizations.

Learn about hundreds of our other legal cases at earthjustice.org/cases.

Learn More:
Earthjustice uses the power of the law to protect people’s health,
preserve magnificent places and wildlife, advance clean energy, and combat climate change.
Hear from Earthjustice's President and VPs for Litigation about our work.