40 Earthjustice Victories For The Earth

Earthjustice was born amid the national passion that marked the first Earth Day in 1970 and launched the modern environmental movement. Since then, mostly through legal efforts, we've scored hundreds of victories on behalf of the environment. Forty of our proudest accomplishments produced these results:

  • <b>Mineral King</b><br>This first Earthjustice victory saved a spectacular Sierra Nevada valley from development and confirmed the right of citizens to take environmental disputes to court.<br>(Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice)
  • <b>Sea Turtles</b><br>Greatly reduced the number of sea turtles killed by the Central Pacific longline fishery. Ensured safe habitat for endangered and threatened sea turtles along some Florida beaches. (Photo: Ursula Keuper-Bennett)
  • <b>Endangered Species</b><br>Secured and defended protection for hundreds of animals, birds and plants in every corner of the country, including spotted owls, marbled murrelets, grizzly bears, red-cockaded woodpeckers, the palila bird and `alala crow in Hawai`i. (Photo: John & Karen Hollingsworth)
  • <b>Florida Waterways</b><br>Destructive algae blooms in Florida waters are being targeted through a historic settlement, reached a year after Earthjustice sued, requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to set legal limits for widespread nutrient poisoning.
  • <b>Admiralty Island, Alaska</b><br>Stopped the planned logging of a million-acre wilderness—home to vast numbers of wild creatures, including bald eagles, grizzly bears, black-tailed deer and five species of salmon. (Photo: USFWS)
  • <b>Yellowstone Snowmobiles</b><br>Successfully fought the Bush administration's multiple attempts to repeal a plan to phase out noisy, wildlife-disturbing snowmobiles that forced park rangers to wear gas masks to protect their lungs from the toxic exhaust. (Photo: NPS)
  • <b>Mediterranean Driftnetting</b><br>Enforced a United Nations moratorium on large-scale driftnetting, spurring a government buy-out of Italian driftnets and a drastic reduction in driftnetting in the Mediterranean Sea that had killed thousands of dolphins and whales, including Sperm whales, each year. (Photo: Faraj Meir)
  • <b>Tongass National Forest, Alaska</b><br>Battled for 40 years to block logging in roadless areas of the nation's largest national forest, and limit it where roads exist, to protect the forest, preserve wildlife habitat, and support recreational and subsistence hunting and fishing. (Photo: Katerina Zelena)
  • <b>Roadless Rule</b><br>Fought the Bush administration to a standstill over its attempts to overturn a Clinton administration rule protecting untouched national forests. (Photo: Terry Glase)
  • <b>The Anacostia River</b><br>The Anacostia, one of America's dirtiest rivers, is being cleaned up because of litigation we brought, requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to set strong pollution limits. (Photo: Anacostia Watershed Society)
  • <b>Steller Sea Lions</b><br>Forced factory trawlers targeting pollock and other sea lion prey to avoid Steller sea lion rookeries. (Photo: USFWS)
  • <b>Redwood National Park</b><br>Demonstrated that logging outside the park was harming the park and persuaded Congress to nearly double the size of the park to protect it.
  • <b>Barstow-to-Vegas Race</b><br>Stopped the annual Thanksgiving Day race across the Mojave Desert that killed desert tortoises and disrupted fragile plant life. (Photo: Mark Wilson)
  • <b>West Coast Salmon</b><br>In 1994, secured Endangered Species Act listing of the winter run king salmon in California, making it the first fish given ESA protections; and went on to procure ESA protection for two dozen other salmon species on the West Coast. Also, gained  increased releases of water from Snake River dams in Washington and Oregon to benefit salmon; guaranteed minimum flows in the Klamath River for the same reason; compelled removal of a salmon-killing dam on Oregon's Rogue River; forced emergency measures to rescue salmon in the Sacramento River; gained protection for California's Garcia River, whose once-abundant populations of salmon and steelhead were decimated by runoff from logged hillsides.
  • <b>Fisheating Creek</b><br>Proved that this south Florida waterway and its abundant wildlife belong to the people of Florida and not to a giant corporation that tried to seize it. (Photo: Tom Turner)
  • <b>Arctic Oil</b><br>Protected Teshekpuk Lake, vital wildlife habitat in the western Arctic, from destructive oil drilling; stopped Shell Oil three years running from drilling in the Beaufort Sea, home to polar bear, walrus and endangered bowhead whales, without assessing and reducing harm to wildlife. (Photo: Subhankar Banerjee)
  • <b>Otero Mesa</b><br>Protected this rare Southwest landscape, habitat for several endangered species, from gas drilling. Forced the Bureau of Land Management to consider environmental impacts before large-scale leasing of pristine lands for destructive gas drilling.
  • <b>Rogue Roads</b><br>Stopped attempts by states and counties to seize routes across roadless federal lands, including national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges.
  • <b>Northwest Forests</b><br>A 10-year campaign preserved much of the cathedral old-growth forests that remain in the Pacific Northwest, along with the creatures that depend on it for their survival. (Photo: Galen Rowell / Mountain Light)
  • <b>Puget Sound Orcas</b><br>Obtained endangered species protection for Southern Resident orca whales which had declined to fewer than 90 whales in the 1990s, along with designation of nearly all of Puget Sound as critical habitat for the orcas. Ensured that low-impact development strategies must be used to reduce toxic stormwater discharges into Puget Sound that reduce fish populations for orcas and people and pollute the Sound.
  • <b>Hawaiian Monk Seal</b><br>Gained protection for the seals’ critical habitat in Hawai’i, which halted commercial lobster fishing where the severely endangered seal was being deprived of an important food source. President Bush subsequently designated the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as a National Monument. The State of Hawai'i banned lobster fishing in state waters surrounding the islands. (Photo: Frans Lanting)
  • <b>Red Snapper</b><br>Secured a court order requiring the National Marine Fisheries Service to prepare a rebuilding plan for the overfished red snapper population in the Gulf of Mexico. The plan was adopted in 2008. (Photo: NOAA)
  • <b>Defense of Clinton National Monuments</b><br>Helped persuade federal courts that the Clinton administration acted within the law and legal precedent when it created several new national monuments in the late 1990s. (Photo: BLM)
  • <b>New England Groundfish</b><br>Obtained a court ruling that led Congress to amend federal law in 2007 to make clear that overfishing must cease immediately once a fish population is declared overfished. (Photo: NOAA)
  • <b>Global Warming and Human Rights</b><br>Obtained a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate the connections between global warming and human rights. Leading international climate negotiators included this connection in discussions leading to a successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol. (Photo: COREL)
  • <b>Mountaintop Removal</b><br>Momentum is building, after years of legal pressure by Earthjustice and allies, to greatly restrict mountaintop removal mining - a destructive form of coal mining that blows apart entire mountain ranges in Appalachia, burying streams and poisoning nearby communities with waste and debris. (Photo: Vivian Stockman / OHVEC)
  • <b>Coal-fired Power Plants</b><br>Stopped plans to build dirty coal-fired power plants in Utah, Florida and in other places nationwide, creating opportunities for an era of clean energy. One of our earliest—and most significant victories—came in the early 70's when pressure orchestrated by Earthjustice  forced the withdrawal of plans to build 'Kaiparowits,' a goliath coal-fired power plant in southern Utah.
  • <b>New York Power Plants</b><br>Stronger protections for power plants nationwide could result from our successful court fight to better safeguard communities near the Huntley and Dunkirk power plants, two of New York's dirtiest polluters. (Photo: Jerry Ferguson)
  • <b>New World Mine</b><br>Stopped the opening of a hardrock mine next to Yellowstone National Park and started the process of restoring of another site.
  • <b>Canaan Valley</b><br>Blocked a proposed power plant in a West Virginia wetland that later became the state's first national wildlife refuge. (Photo: Tim Kiser)
  • <b>Mercury Pollution and other Air Toxics</b><br>Made fish from our rivers and oceans safer to eat through Earthjustice legal pressure, forcing some of the nation's biggest mercury polluters—power plants, cement kilns and incinerators—to cut their mercury emissions. (Photo: Samantha Bornhorst)
  • <b>Union Oil S.F. Bay Pollution</b><br>Secured what was then the biggest fine under the Clean Water Act—around $5 million—against Union Oil for illegally polluting San Francisco Bay.
  • <b>Pesticides</b><br>Obtained phase-outs of two dangerous pesticides that cause reproductive deformities or acute poisonings of farmworkers and their families; obtained mandatory medical monitoring of farmworkers applying toxic pesticides in Washington; kept the courthouse door open for people harmed by pesticides to sue chemical companies.
  • <b>Brookfield Landfill</b><br>Tens of thousands of gallons of illegally dumped toxic waste near Staten Island are being cleaned up by New York City after the city was compelled to act by Earthjustice litigation. (Photo: Robert Paul Young)
  • <b>Uranium Plant</b><br>Defeated a proposal to site a uranium-enrichment plant between two small African American towns in rural Louisiana already disproportionately burdened with polluting facilities. (Photo: DOE)
  • <b>La Oroya</b><br>Persuaded the government of Peru to force the American company that owns and operates a lead smelter in this poverty-stricken town to care for the people its operations have poisoned, most of them children. (Photo: Anna Cederstav)
  • <b>Barney Circle Freeway</b><br>Stopped a plan to build a new freeway through the largely African American Kingman Park neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
  • <b>Air Quality Permits</b><br>Established that new facilities must obtain air permits even in areas with clean air to ensure that they would not worsen air quality, leading to a permitting program that has since derailed coal plants and other polluting facilities.
  • <b>Genetically Modified Food</b><br>Forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assess environmental risks of planting genetically modified sugar beets and to reveal the locations of field tests of food crops engineered to produce pharmaceutical compounds.
  • <b>National Air Pollution</b><br>Countless lawsuits and appeals have resulted in dozens of court orders to tighten enforcement of national air pollution standards that protect people from smog and soot, reducing asthma attacks and deaths from air pollution in our nation's cities.