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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:

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.

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.

Fighting Deregulation of Industrial Dairy Farms in New York

A coalition of environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for its deregulation of industrial dairy farms with 200–299 cows. DEC’s rulemaking has rolled back clean water protection standards to allow medium size dairy CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) to operate without a permit, in clear violation of both federal and state law, with the likely result that untreated cow manure will run off into and contaminate nearby waters. The groups are co-represented in the lawsuit by Pace Law School's Environmental Litigation Clinic and Earthjustice.

Washington State's Toxic Fish Consumption Rules

Studies across Washington State show high levels of toxic pollution in certain types of locally caught fish and shellfish. According to Waterkeepers Washington, represented by Earthjustice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is violating its duty under federal law by failing to take action and protect public health.

Helping Communities Fight Power Plant Air Pollution

Public advocates, represented by Earthjustice, are in court to ensure California citizens have full access to the legal system to protect themselves from power plant air pollution and have a say about where and when new plants are built.

Cleaning Up Sulfur Dioxide Emissions from Homer City Generating Station

The Homer City Generating Station in Pennsylvania has two coal-fired units that, until recently, have had no controls for limiting the emission of SO2. Sulfur dioxide is a major air pollutant and is linked to respiratory illnesses, heart disease and asthma attacks. The Station released the most sulfur dioxide of any plant in the United States in 2010.

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.
Public's Right to Know: Styrene Earthjustice and a coalition of groups are working to make sure the government can alert the American public to the potential dangers of styrene, a chemical used extensively in the manufacture of plastics, as well as boats, cars, bathtubs and products made with rubber, such as tires and conveyer belts.
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.
Suing City of Rochelle, GA, Over Decades of Sewage Dumping Earthjustice is representing a group of African-American citizens suing their city government for discharging the city’s raw sewage onto their properties, a clear and egregious violation of the Clean Water Act.
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.
Challenging Fees For Industrial Polluters in Southern California

Earthjustice is representing the Natural Resources Defense Council and Communities for a Better Environment in challenging a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would relieve major industrial sources in the smog-choked L.A. region from Clean Air Act obligations to pay a fee for their emissions that contribute to ozone pollution in the region.