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:
|Challenging Weak Regulations to Clean Up Haze in National Parks||Earthjustice, on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association and the Sierra Club, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the clean-up of polluting coal plants that degrade visibility and harm human health in national parks, wilderness areas, and other public lands.|
|Shell’s Oil Spill Response Plans||Earthjustice is representing several clients to challenge the federal government’s approval of Shell Oil’s oil spill response plans for the Arctic Ocean. Earthjustice brought the challenge in the Alaska District Court in July 2012. The lawsuit focuses on two spill plans—the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas spill plans—but ultimately it addresses requirements that apply nationwide.|
|Legal Fight For Long Overdue Coal Ash Protections||
Every day, power plants generate over 400,000 tons of toxic coal ash. Most of this waste, which is filled with arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium, cadmium and other pollutants that cause cancer and more, is simply dumped into unlined and unmonitored landfills and ponds. On behalf of 11 national and local environmental and public health groups, Earthjustice is suing the federal government to set a deadline to adopt federal coal ash protections.
|Grand Canyon Uranium Mining||
Earthjustice has intervened to defend the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.
|U.S. Needs to Get the Lead Out of Aviation Fuel||
While lead was phased out of automobile gasoline more than 15 years ago, it persists as a constituent of aviation fuel, or avgas, used by general aviation airplanes. Aviation is the single largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. and poses a significant threat to public health -- especially in communities located near airports.
|Idaho Clean Water Protections||
Earthjustice is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of weak Idaho state water pollution rules that don’t adequately protect Idaho’s cleanest rivers, lakes and streams including cold-water streams that support native trout. These are waters that are the cleanest and best suited to support fisheries and recreation.
|Alaska Roadless Intervention||Earthjustice, together with Natural Resources Defense Council, is representing several clients to defend the 2001 Roadless Areas Conservation Rule in court, once again. The latest challenge to the Roadless Rule was brought by the State of Alaska in the D.C. District Court in June 2011. It focuses on the two national forests in Alaska—the Tongass and the Chugach—but also seeks to strike down the rule nationwide.|
|Air Pollution Loophole Challenge||Earthjustice is representing Sierra Club, Montanans Against Toxic Burning, Huron Environmental Activist League and Downwinders at Risk in challenging an egregious air pollution loophole supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The suit disputes the Obama EPA's unprecedented assertion that burning industrial solid waste as a fuel—akin to coal or natural gas—is a form of recycling, and therefore not subject to key provisions of the Clean Air Act that protect people from the harmful air emissions that result.|
|Gulf Deep Water Oil Drilling Challenge||
Earthjustice is representing the Sierra Club, the Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation in challenging the federal government’s flawed environmental risk assessment of Shell Oil Company’s plan to drill for oil in deep Gulf of Mexico water near the site of BP’s catastrophic 2010 well blowout. The suit alleges that the government’s calculations grossly understate the blow-out risk and that Shell’s drilling plan places communities at risk of another major oil spill along the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida coasts.
|San Pedro River Water Use Challenge||Earthjustice represented the Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society in challenging the lawfulness of a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s biological opinion, which concluded that continued, even increased, water withdrawals by the Army for Fort Huachuca, a U.S. Army base near Sierra Vista, Arizona, will not unduly impact the San Pedro River. In May 2011, Earthjustice won this case in the District of Arizona.|
|State Department’s Refusal to Disclose Tar Sands Communications Challenge||
Earthjustice is representing environmental and ethics groups in challenging the State Department’s refusal to disclose communication records with a lobbyist for TransCanada Pipelines, Paul Elliott, who was previously a presidential campaign manager for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Disclosure of these communications may reveal improprieties in the State Department’s decision-making with respect to TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline that would transport tar sands crude oil to from Alberta, Canada to US refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
|Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Challenge||
Earthjustice is representing a diverse coalition of conventional and organic farmers, dairies and agricultural associations, and environmental and consumer groups in challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s decision to deregulate a variety of alfalfa genetically engineered to tolerate exposure to the herbicide glyphosate. Earthjustice, together with the Center for Food Safety, is challenging the deregulation under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Plant Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
|Washington State Building Code Intervention||
In February 2011, a federal court upheld Washington’s 2009 building energy code in a victory for conservation and energy groups. Buildings are responsible for 40% of our nation’s total energy use, and constructing energy-efficient new buildings helps reduce energy use and homeowners’ energy bills.
|Power Line Construction in the Delaware Water Gap||Earthjustice represented national, regional and local conservation groups in challenging the Susquehanna-Roseland transmission line, a 145-mile, 500 kV transmission line from Susquehanna, Pennsylvania to Roseland, New Jersey.|
|Cleaning Up the Four Corners Coal-Fired Power Plant||Built before the Clean Air Act was enacted, the Four Corners Power Plant has been operating without modern pollution controls for fifty years. Uncontrolled pollution from this plant threatens the health of its Navajo neighbors and mars visibility in surrounding national parks, including the iconic Grand Canyon.|