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:
|Wolverines: Legal Protection Needed||
The wolverine is generally intolerant of human disturbance in its habitat. Its presence in a area signifies untrammeled, uncompromised wilderness. This lawsuit asked a federal court to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refusal to consider new legal protections for the wolverine.
In October 2006, a federal judged ruled that the FWS wrongly rejected scientific information regarding the wolverine that "shows a dramatic loss in range, the tangible decrease in population with the commensurate threat of genetic isolation of subpopulations, and the threat posed by human encroachment on wolverines."
Tens of thousands of communication towers dot landscapes across the country. In Texas alone, there are over 10,000 of these towers; the FCC receives approximately 20-25 new applications for tower construction each month. These towers pose a significant threat to endangered bird species, especially migratory birds. This filing sought to compel the FCC to revise its rulemaking and consider the impacts within an environmental impact study that a new tower may pose.
In February 2008, a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC did not follow the law to carefully consider the possible adverse effects to migratory birds when it issues permits for towers.
Otero Mesa is a desert grassland in New Mexico that provides habitat for several federally protected species. Conservationists and the State of New Mexico want to protect the most sensitive areas, while the Bush administration wanted to throw it all open to oil and gas development.
On April 28, 2009, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision invalidating the Bush administration drilling plan for Otero Mesa.
|Air Toxics: Enforcing Deadlines||Lawsuits to compel EPA to create overdue regulations to control air toxic emissions and protect public health|
|Air Toxics: Challenging Weak Standards||Earthjustice has filed several suits to force EPA to establish more effective regulations for key industrial categories|
|Appeals Reform Act||The Bush administration has put forward new regulations that would eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to participate in the management of their nation's forests. Earthjustice has challenged the regulations in court.|
|Pesticide Impacts on Salmon & Steelhead||Back to court to force EPA to abide by court order.|
|Coastal Cutthroat Listing||Cutthroat trout that live in coastal rivers in the Pacific Northwest and California have declined sharply owing primarily to habitat destruction, but the Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to protect them. A lawsuit aims to rectify that dire situation.|
|Columbia River Hydropower Reform||A combination of dams, diversions, pollution, and other factors has reduced the populations of wild salmon in the watershed of the Columbia to a tiny fraction of their historic size. Earthjustice is involved in several lawsuits aimed at restoring the salmon and making the river more hospitable to them.|
|Smog in the Nation's Capital||The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly approved inadequate plans to impove air quality in the nation's capital and Earthjustice has repeatedly filed suit to force the agency to obey the law. The agency -- and the city -- are stubborn, however, and the case goes on.|
|NFMA Rule Challenge||
A 1976 law requires the Forest Service to protect wildlife on the national forests and allow citizens to participate in management decisions. The Bush administration has moved to reduce protections and all but cut citizens out of the process. Earthustice filed suit to challenge the new rules. In March 2007, a federal judge invalidated the administration's new regulations.
|Wyoming Wolf Plan Intervention||Wyoming's wolves are protected by the federal government. The state wants to take over management and allow the killing of wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming's plan; ranchers, farmers, and others filed suit; and Earthjustice intevened to assure a stout defense of the wolves.|
|Rock Creek Mine||The Fish and Wildlife Service rewrote a biological opinion that originally said that a mine proposed in the Cabinet Mountains in Montana could wipe out grizzly bears and bull trout there -- the new opinion says the mine poses no threat. A district court has now ruled that opinion illegal too, halting the mine for now.|
|Lake Okeechobee Pollution Limits||
Lake Okeechobee in Florida is overloaded with fertilizer and animal waste from cattle and dairy farms as well as other sources. Existing restrictions are inadequate to the task of cleaning them up. Earthjustice successfully sued to make the authorities follow the law and clean up waterways tributary to the Lake.
|Sacramento-San Joaquin River Salmon Biological Opinion||This lawsuit challenges NMFS' politically motivated "no jeopardy" biological opinion on the effects on five ESA-listed salmon and steelhead species of the proposed long-term operations, criteria and plan for the jointly operated federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project -- a plan that would pave the way for dramatically increased exports of water from the Bay Delta.|