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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:

Defending Sea Otter Recovery in Southern California

Conservation and wildlife groups, represented by Earthjustice, are defending a decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end a failed policy of trying to exclude sea otters from their Southern California habitat—a so-called “no-otter zone”—by relocating otters to other areas. An industry group, the California Sea Urchin Commission, has filed a lawsuit challenging the federal decision to end the backward management policy.

Restoring Kauai's Waimea River Earthjustice, on behalf of community group Poʻai Wai Ola/West Kauaʻi Watershed Alliance, has brought legal action to protect the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and restore stream flows to the Waimea River on Kauaʻi. The case before the State of Hawaiʻi’s Commission on Water Resource Management charges the state-run Agribusiness Development Corporation and its tenant the Kekaha Agricultural Association, which operate the old sugar plantation ditch systems diverting Waimea River, of excessively draining the river and even dumping the water, rather than letting the river flow for the environment and public uses.
Suing to Stop Illegal Sewage Discharges in Maui

Four Hawaiʻi community groups, represented by Earthjustice, have filed suit under the federal Clean Water Act to stop Maui County from discharging wastewater into the ocean from its Lahaina treatment plant without a permit. Millions of gallons of wastewater injected into wells at the facility each day surface offshore of popular Kahekili Beach Park in West Maui, killing the coral reef and triggering outbreaks of invasive algae.

Protecting Montana’s Largest National Forest, Beaverhead-Deerlodge

At 3.35 million acres, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge is Montana’s largest national forest. It encompasses more roadless lands—1.8 million acres—than any Montana national forest. Earthjustice, representing the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the Montana Wilderness Association, defended the U.S. Forest Service’s plan to restrict use of dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and snowmobiles across 322,000 acres of lands recommended for wilderness protection under a 2009 revision to the Beaverhead-Deerlodge forest plan.

Mitigating Impacts of Conowingo Dam on Susquehanna River, Chesapeake Bay

A coalition of conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, has petitioned to be included in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing proceedings for the Conowingo Dam. The groups plan to push the commission to require the dam’s owner, Exelon Generation, to take action to address and prevent harm to water quality in the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay.

Challenging the Interstate Constitution Gas Pipeline

A coalition of environmental groups are intervening in proceedings over a 122-mile natural gas pipeline proposed to run through portions of New York and Pennsylvania. The 122 miles of pipeline and additional miles of access roads will cut across forests and watersheds.

The Public’s Right to Fish and Boat on Florida's Fisheating Creek

Earthjustice has represented conservationists in over two decades of legal disputes with agribusiness giant Lykes Brothers, Inc. over the public’s right to fish and boat on Fisheating Creek. The creek is a major tributary of Lake Okeechobee. It is a wild and scenic waterway which courses through prairie, cypress swamps, and marshes.

Protecting Bees from the Pesticide Sulfoxaflor

National Beekeeping organizations are represented by Earthjustice, in an appeal against EPA for its approval of the pesticide Sulfoxaflor, shown to be “highly toxic” to honey bees, and other insect pollinators.

Protecting Groundfish in New England

Attorneys from Conservation Law Foundation and Earthjustice have filed a pair of lawsuits in the federal district court challenging recent decisions by the National Marine Fisheries Service regarding New England groundfish. Groundfish like cod were once important apex predators in the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and were the foundation of one of the nation’s most iconic fisheries. Now, in addition to the chronic and severe overfishing they have been subjected to in recent decades, their recovery is being also affected by changes associated with greenhouse gas emissions such as increasing ocean temperatures.

Protecting Coos Bay's Estuary from Massive Dredging Project A coalition of local residents, grassroots environmental and clean-energy activists, represented by Earthjustice, have asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to put the brakes on a Oregon Department of State Lands’ dredging permit that paves the way for the Port of Coos Bay to export dangerous liquefied natural gas (LNG) or coal and other bulk commodities to Asia.
Protecting Seneca Lake from Gas Industry Infrastructure Projects Two gas industry infrastructure projects are proposed for underground salt caverns on the shores of Seneca Lake, in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York. They would involve large-scale storage facilities with new capacity for 88 million gallons of liquid petroleum gasand additional capacity for natural gas, expanding storage to 2 billion cubic feet. Environmental advocates are concerned that these projects will lock the region into continued extraction and use of dirty fossil fuels and discourage the growth of renewable energy.
Stopping Industrialization of the Thompson Divide

Earthjustice, representing Wilderness Workshop, has filed an administrative appeal seeking reversal of the April 9, 2013, Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision that extended the lives of 25 oil and gas leases set to expire in 2013. These leases, which BLM admits were illegally sold and which have sat unused for ten years, are located in the heart of the Thompson Divide, a prized refuge of public lands in the White River National Forest.

Protecting Chesapeake Bay from LNG Export Terminal Earthjustice and a coalition of local, regional, and national groups are objecting to the environmental impacts posed by the proposed Dominion Cove Point liquefied natural gasexport terminal on the Chesapeake Bay, saying the project would hurt the Bay’s economy and ecology, increase air pollution, and hasten fracking and drilling in neighboring states.
Protecting America's First National River A coalition of conservation and citizen groups, represented by Earthjustice, have sent a notice of intent to sue to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its Farm Service Agency’s loan guarantee for an industrial 6,500-pig swine facility on the banks of a tributary that flows straight into the Buffalo National River—an action that was not properly examined and may violate the Endangered Species Act. The facility, C&H Hog Farms, is under contract with Cargill, an international producer and marketer of agricultural products.
Banning Dangerous Rat Poisons The American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, are taking legal action to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to ban sales of several harmful rodenticides.