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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:

Protecting Marine Mammals from Navy Sonar in the Pacific Northwest

A coalition of conservation and American Indian groups, represented by Earthjustice, have sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.

Fighting for Cleaner Air in Utah’s Uinta Basin

A coalition of public health and conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, is pressing their case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s failure to protect the Uinta Basin of northeast Utah from dangerously high levels of smog pollution. Wintertime smog in the basin in recent years rivaling that usually found in Los Angeles and Houston has resulted from air pollution generated by booming oil and gas operations and other industrial activity.

Challenging Indiana Coal Plant Rate Hikes and Climate Pollution

Earthjustice, on behalf of several state and national environmental and citizen groups, has filed an amicus or “friend of the court” brief with the Indiana Court of Appeals in support of a challenge to the approval of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission of a new Duke Energy coal gasification power plant in Edwardsport, Indiana.

Halting Serious Air Pollution from DTE Coal-burning Power Plants

Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, have taken legal action to support Department of Justice efforts to clean up several of Detroit Edison’s coal-burning power plants in Southern Michigan by requiring them to comply with the Clean Air Act.

Challenging EPA's "Free Pass" for the Avenal Power Plant

A coalition of conservation and environmental justice groups, represented by Earthjustice, are challenging an extension of a federal air pollution permit for the Avenal Power Plant, a proposed 600-megawatt facility that would emit hundreds of tons of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.

Stopping Destruction at Kentucky's Stacy Branch Coal Mine

Earthjustice, representing local residents, is challenging a permit for a new mountaintop removal coal mine, the Stacy Branch mine near the town of Vicco in eastern Kentucky.

Challenging a Panamanian Dam Project for Violating Indigenous Rights

Civil society organizations are supporting a challenge by indigenous people to the environmental review of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam in Panama.

Cleaning Up Sewage Sludge Incinerators

There are over 200 sewage sludge incinerators operating in communities across the U.S. They emit toxic air pollutants like mercury, lead, acid gases, and dioxins and furans from facilities as they burn sewage sludge and industrial waste. The health effects from these pollutants include premature death, cancer, heart attacks, kidney disease, weakened immune systems, developmental delays, and any manner of respiratory problems. These incinerators are typically used to burn semi-solid wastes collected during wastewater treatment, are the sixth largest source of mercury pollution in the United States.

Protecting the Deep Creek WSA

The Deep Creek Mountains, located west of Salt Lake City and just east of the Nevada border, are western Utah’s highest mountains, an isolated “island” overlooking the Great Salt Lake Desert dominated by 12,087-foot Ibapah Peak. This unique range rises 7,800 feet above the surrounding desert lands and is known for its rich biodiversity, perennial streams, and opportunities for solitude. Nearly 70,000-acres in the heart of the range have been designated as the Deep Creek Mountains Wilderness Study Area and are managed for their wilderness qualities. Recreational activities include hunting, wildlife viewing and hiking.

Challenging Unlawful Approval of Motorized Routes in Pike and San Isabel National Forests

Earthjustice, representing recreation and conservation groups, have moved to protect wildlife, air and water quality and opportunities for quiet recreation in Colorado in a legal challenge to the U.S. Forest Service’s official okay of hundreds of miles of routes for motorized vehicle use on the Pike and San Isabel National Forests.

A Smarter Growth Plan for California's Bay Area Earthjustice, Communities for a Better Environment, and the Sierra Club have filed a lawsuit challenging the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments’ most recent regional transportation plan in Alameda County Superior Court. Plan Bay Area is supposed to serve as a multi-decade regional plan to improve the reliability, accessibility, and affordability of public transportation in the Bay Area and reduce greenhouse gas emissions while overseeing smart growth to meet the demands of the area’s growing population. The Plan falls short of these goals.
Defending the Clean Water Act Against Agricultural Pollution

Earthjustice, with a coalition of local and national public interest organizations, is supporting the Environmental Protection Agency’s long-held authority under the Clean Water Act to regulate waste from commercial animal farms and seeking to confirm that a large West Virginia poultry operation should comply with all applicable regulations.

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.

Challenging Federal Financing of Coal Exports from East Coast Ports

Environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, have filed the first-ever lawsuit challenging the federal government’s financing for the export of Appalachian coal from the United States. The U.S. government approved this financial support for coal exports without considering the increased toxic air and water pollution that could affect communities near the mines and ports, and along the railways that connect them.

Ending PATH To Coal Power

The Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline (PATH) calls for construction of high-voltage transmission lines starting in West Virginia near the John E. Amos coal-fired power plant, which is ranked as one of the dirtiest coal plants in the country for mercury, sulfur dioxide, and CO2 pollution. The lines would extend east for 275 miles, cutting through Virginia to end up in Maryland.