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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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cutting Climate Pollution from Washington's Oil Refineries

Earthjustice is representing clean air advocates a lawsuit to require five oil refineries in Washington State to improve energy efficiency and take other steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Oil refineries are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions nationally, and Washington’s five oil refineries contribute significantly to statewide greenhouse gas emissions.

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.

Ending Coal-Fired Power Production in Washington with Innovative Rate-Making Mechanisms

Earthjustice, representing NW Energy Coalition, sought to increase energy efficiency in Washington State and reduce fossil fuel combustion at the state and regional level. Utility profits are generally tied to (coupled with) sales. Successful energy efficiency programs reduce sales, making it difficult for the utility to cover its costs. A comprehensive “decoupling” provision would the utility achieve even greater energy efficiency savings while making its revenue more predictable.

Pennsylvania Air Quality Permits

As a result of a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Clean Air Council, and PennEnvironment, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection have updated and strengthened air quality permits for coal plants across the state.

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.

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.