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:
|Peruvian Smelter Emits Toxic Pollutants||
The people (especially the children) who live in La Oroya, in the Peruvian Andes, have dangerous levels of lead in their blood. The source is a smelter operated by a company based in Missouri. Earthjustice is working to persuade the company to provide desperately needed medical care.
|Orcas in Puget Sound||An extended family of orca whales has made Puget Sound and associated waters its home for thousands of years. Numbers have declined sharply in recent years but it took a win in court to prod the government into protecting them. Earthjustice is keeping a close watch.|
|Methanex Corp. Challenges US Environmental Protections||MTBE is a gasoline additive that has contaminated groundwater, provoking a decision by California to phase out its use. The manufacturer in turn sued the United States, demanding nearly a billion dollars to compensate for lost profits. Earthjustice has intervened to block the blackmail.|
|Public Participation in Trade Negotiations||The US Trade Representative is negotiating several trade agreements and refuses to reveal any details to the public, even though the documents have been freely circulated to the governments participating in the negotiations. Earthjustice has filed suit to force release of the documents.|
|Florida Irrigation: Farming Practices Destroying Trees||
Tomato growers in Florida use so much irrigation water that it floods downstream lands and has killed thousands of acres of bottomland hardwoods. Earthjustice sued on behalf of a downstream nature center to force the farmers to contain their irrigation water.
In October 2008, Earthjustice won an appeal of this case. The Second District Court of Appeal in Lakeland decided that a trial court improperly dismissed the case on the theory that the water management district could not be required to stop the flooding.
|Waiahole Water Rights||Nearly a century ago, water vital to taro farmers, streams, and the estuary on O`ahu's east side was diverted to sugar plantations through the Waiahole Ditch system. The plantations are gone now, and Earthjustice represents farmers and Native Hawaiians in an effort to restore the water to the streams where it belongs. Earthjustice's efforts yielded the first return of water to Hawai'i's streams in history, and it continues to fight for more restoration, and is opposing further diversions of water from the system.|
|Pila`a Coral Reef Protection||
The developer of a luxury subdivision on Kaua`i neglected to put in erosion-control measures. The resulting runoff damaged a coral reef essential to wildlife, subsistence fishermen, swimmers, divers and others. Earthjustice filed suit to force the developer to fix the problem and is currently monitoring a settlement agreement requiring ecosystem restoration. The settlement also imposed the largest civil penalty ever assessed for violations of the Clean Water Act at a single site.
|Northwest Salmon Protections||Organizations representing various industry groups have filed several suits trying to strip away Endangered Species Act protection from salmon in the Pacific Northwest. Earthjustice has intervened to defend the protections, on the theory that hatcheries can replace wild salmon and their habitat.|
|PCB Ghost Ship Exports||There are dozens of obsolete, decaying military ships awaiting disposal. The administration, skirting federal law, tried to send 13 to England for dismantling. A lawsuit blocked nine. Four sit in limbo in England. Transport is dangerous and U.S. shipyards can do the job. The court will decide the fate of the rest.|
|Klamath River: Salmon Protection||Earthjustice challenges long-term irrigation plan in midst of largest fishkill recorded in the Pacific Northwest.|