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Our Cases

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. Several of the most important legal battles for this year can be found at the 2014 Legal Docket.

Our complete legal docket includes about 300 active cases. Learn about some of our recent and historical cases:

Seeking Full Review of GE Salmon Environmental Risks

Genetically engineered salmon is the first ever GE fish intended for human consumption in the United States. Documents disclosed through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request raise serious questions about the adequacy of the Food and Drug Administration’s review of the AquAdvantage Salmon application.

Protecting Waterways from the TVA Gallatin Coal Plant

Earthjustice, representing the Tennessee Clean Water Network, the Sierra Club and the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, has appealed a pollution permit issued to Tennessee Valley Authority for its Gallatin coal-fired power plant to prevent toxic discharges of heavy metals and other harmful waste byproducts of burning coal. The plant’s polluted wastewaters are dumped into unlined ponds that allow pollution to continue to harm the environment.

Protecting Human Rights by Reducing Black Carbon Emissions to Slow Arctic Warming The Arctic Athabaskan Council has filed a petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, asking the Commission to declare that Canada is undermining the human rights of Athabaskan peoples by poorly regulating emissions of black carbon, or soot, a short-lived climate pollutant which contributes significantly to Arctic warming and melting. Readily available emissions reduction measures could substantially slow Arctic warming and melting and protect Athabaskan rights.
Protecting Grays Harbor from Becoming an Industrial Crude Oil Zone

The Quinault Indian Nation, represented by Earthjustice, is opposing the first of at least three proposed oil shipping facilities that could transform Grays Harbor, WA into an industrial crude oil zone.

Seeking Solutions to Critical Salmon Barrier on Rogue Basin’s Evans Creek

In the wake of failed efforts to broker the voluntary removal of the Rogue Basin’s defunct Fielder Dam, Earthjustice, representing WaterWatch of Oregon, has filed suit in U.S. District Court, contending that the dam harms threatened coho salmon in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

Defending the Gulf of California from "Mega Resorts"

Earthjustice and the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), representing local and international environmental organizations, have filed a petition to the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, charging the Mexican government with failing to enforce its own environmental laws in authorizing the construction of four “mega resorts” in the Gulf of California.

Challenging Montana's Weak Wildlife Protections on State Trust Lands

Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice. have filed a legal challenge to federal approval of a state forest management plan in Montana that threatens grizzly bears and bull trout. Both species are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Protecting Colorado's Mountain Backcountry Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, are working to halt Arch Coal’s plans to bulldoze, road, and drill the forests next to Colorado’s iconic West Elk Wilderness Area as part the company’s plans to expand dirty energy development on public lands.
Challenging the Flawed EPA Air Pollution Plan for "Scenic Landscape" States Conservation and public health groups seeking to restore clear skies over some of our nation’s most scenic landscapes have filed a challenge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver against plans approved by the Environmental Protection Agencythat allow coal-fired power plants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming to escape federal requirements to reduce their emissions of haze-causing pollutants. The exemptions are being challenged by HEAL Utah, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Powder River Basin Resource Council, and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice.
Challenging Ammonia Emissions from an Industrial Egg Farm Earthjustice and Lynch & Eatman, LLP are representing Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. and Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in efforts to clean up ammonia pollution from a massive industrial chicken operation. Rose Acre’s Hyde County facility, the largest industrial egg farm in North Carolina, includes twelve high-rise henhouses equipped with giant ventilation fans. The fecal matter, feathers, dust, ammonia and other pollutants blown out of the chicken houses enter the surrounding areas and the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which is less than one and a quarter miles from the facility.
North Boundary Bison Intervention

Bison are the only native wildlife species still unnaturally confined to the political boundaries of Yellowstone National Park for any part of the year. As recently as 2008, more than 1,400 bison—about one-third of the current size of Yellowstone’s bison population—were captured and slaughtered by government agencies while leaving Yellowstone in search of food. Earthjustice, on behalf of the Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Natural Resources Defense Council, is defending a Montana state policy allowing wild bison room to roam outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.

Protecting Lake Tahoe from a Massive Ski Resort Expansion

In a move to protect the environmental quality of a lake known for its natural beauty, community members and conservationists asked a federal court to reject an inadequate Environmental Impact Report and to stop the construction of a 325-unit complex along California’s scenic west shore of Lake Tahoe. Earthjustice is representing the Sierra Club, as well as Friends of the West Shore, a grassroots community organization representing more than 500 members from the California side of Lake Tahoe.

Protecting Endangered Caribbean Corals from Overfishing Earthjustice is representing the Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit seeking greater protections from fishing for threatened coral reefs in the Caribbean.
Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles, Rare Albatross from the Longline Swordfish Fishery Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit in federal district court challenging a new rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service that doubles the number of endangered sea turtles allowed to be entangled and killed by Hawaiʻi’s longline swordfish fishery. The suit, brought under the Endangered Species Act and other federal environmental laws, aims to stop the Fisheries Service from allowing the fishery to cause the deaths of far too many endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, as well as migratory seabirds.
Protecting Hawai'i’s Reef Ecosystems from the Aquarium Trade Citizens and conservation groups took legal action today to require the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources to protect Hawaiʻi’s reefs and coastal areas from unlimited collection of fish and other wildlife for the aquarium trade. Specifically, the groups are asking DLNR to conduct environmental reviews—including an examination of cumulative damage to the state’s reefs—before granting permits that allow unlimited aquarium collection of marine wildlife in coastal waters.