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Work to open the WTO to public participation

As the first organization to make citizen submissions in World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes, Earthjustice instituted the practice of submitting amicus briefs on behalf of nongovernmental organizations. To date, Earthjustice's amicus briefs have defended the European ban on hormone-treated beef, US Clean Air Act standards and US sea turtle protections.

In the US sea turtle protection matter, Malaysia renewed its WTO challenge to the US law banning shrimp caught without the use of devices to prevent the drowning of endangered sea turtles. Earthjustice re-entered the case, filing a new amicus brief on behalf of Turtle Island Restoration Project, Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and the Chilean organization Fiscalia del Medio Ambiente. These organizations were concerned that the United States would not aggressively defend the turtle-protection measure. Our submission also cautioned the WTO panel against unnecessarily limiting the ability of governments to use trade restrictions as an incentive for environmental protection. In June 2001, the panel issued a decision finding the US measure to be consistent with the WTO rules.