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 Ammonia Emissions from an Industrial Egg Farm||Earthjustice and Lynch & Eatman, LLP are representing Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. and Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in efforts to clean up ammonia pollution from a massive industrial chicken operation. Rose Acre’s Hyde County facility, the largest industrial egg farm in North Carolina, includes twelve high-rise henhouses equipped with giant ventilation fans. The fecal matter, feathers, dust, ammonia and other pollutants blown out of the chicken houses enter the surrounding areas and the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which is less than one and a quarter miles from the facility.|
|North Boundary Bison Intervention||
Bison are the only native wildlife species still unnaturally confined to the political boundaries of Yellowstone National Park for any part of the year. As recently as 2008, more than 1,400 bison—about one-third of the current size of Yellowstone’s bison population—were captured and slaughtered by government agencies while leaving Yellowstone in search of food. Earthjustice, on behalf of the Bear Creek Council, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Natural Resources Defense Council, is defending a Montana state policy allowing wild bison room to roam outside the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park.
|Protecting Lake Tahoe from a Massive Ski Resort Expansion||
In a move to protect the environmental quality of a lake known for its natural beauty, community members and conservationists asked a federal court to reject an inadequate Environmental Impact Report and to stop the construction of a 325-unit complex along California’s scenic west shore of Lake Tahoe. Earthjustice is representing the Sierra Club, as well as Friends of the West Shore, a grassroots community organization representing more than 500 members from the California side of Lake Tahoe.
|Fracking Court Fight in Dryden, NY||
Earthjustice is representing the Town of Dryden in a court case over whether an oil and gas company should be allowed to overrule local zoning laws limiting industrial oil and gas development.
|Solar Tax Credits in Hawai‘i||Earthjustice, representing the Sierra Club, is challenging in state circuit court the Hawaiʻi Department of Taxation’s decision to cut back on tax credits for residents and businesses that install solar energy systems. The Department’s new interpretation of the solar credit—which was announced November 9, 2012 and goes into effect January 1, 2013—will drastically reduce the availability of the Hawaiʻi renewable energy tax credit for solar photovoltaic systems and threatens Hawaiʻi's progress in promoting renewable energy and in weaning itself off fossil fuels.|
|Protecting Communities from Chrome Plating Facilities||On behalf of local and national environmental groups Clean Air Council, California Communities Against Toxics, and Sierra Club, Earthjustice is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s weak emission standards for chromium electroplating plants, facilities that emit dangerous amounts of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium.|
|Protecting Endangered Caribbean Corals from Overfishing||Earthjustice is representing the Center for Biological Diversity in a lawsuit seeking greater protections from fishing for threatened coral reefs in the Caribbean.|
|Protecting Endangered Sea Turtles, Rare Albatross from the Longline Swordfish Fishery||Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, filed a lawsuit in federal district court challenging a new rule by the National Marine Fisheries Service that doubles the number of endangered sea turtles allowed to be entangled and killed by Hawaiʻi’s longline swordfish fishery. The suit, brought under the Endangered Species Act and other federal environmental laws, aims to stop the Fisheries Service from allowing the fishery to cause the deaths of far too many endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles, as well as migratory seabirds.|
|Protecting Hawai'i’s Reef Ecosystems from the Aquarium Trade||Citizens and conservation groups took legal action today to require the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources to protect Hawaiʻi’s reefs and coastal areas from unlimited collection of fish and other wildlife for the aquarium trade. Specifically, the groups are asking DLNR to conduct environmental reviews—including an examination of cumulative damage to the state’s reefs—before granting permits that allow unlimited aquarium collection of marine wildlife in coastal waters.|
|Reid Gardner Haze Rule||The Moapa Band of Paiutes and environmental allies filed suit in federal court over the issue of air pollutants from the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant located just a couple hundred yards from the homes of Moapa Paiute families. The lawsuit is being filed in the 9th Circuit Court by Earthjustice on behalf of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, Sierra Club, and National Parks Conservation Association.|
|Challenging Unregulated Fracking in California||As hundreds of California oil and gas wells undergo dangerous hydraulic fracturing without government oversight, environmental advocates, represented by Earthjustice, are in court to force the agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry to abide by the state’s foremost law that protects public health and the environment. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, charges that the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has failed to consider or evaluate the risks of fracking, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act.|
|Minnesota Haze Challenge||
Clean air groups are appealing the EPA’s decision to approve a significant portion of Minnesota’s Regional Haze State Implementation Plan—a weak approach that will not result in cleaning up dirty coal-fired plant pollution.
|Chemical Oil Dispersants & the Clean Water Act||The Clean Water Act requires EPA to identify the waters in which dispersants and other spill mitigating devices and substances may be used, and what quantities can be used safely in the identified waters, as part of EPA’s responsibilities for preparing and publishing the National Contingency Plan. The Plan governs responses to discharges of oil and hazardous substances. But the use of toxic dispersants in response to the 2010 Gulf oil disaster was implemented without prior understanding of the effect on the Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystems and human health.|
|Challenging Weak Regulations to Clean Up Haze in National Parks||Earthjustice, on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association and the Sierra Club, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the clean-up of polluting coal plants that degrade visibility and harm human health in national parks, wilderness areas, and other public lands.|
|Shell’s Oil Spill Response Plans||Earthjustice is representing several clients to challenge the federal government’s approval of Shell Oil’s oil spill response plans for the Arctic Ocean. Earthjustice brought the challenge in the Alaska District Court in July 2012. The lawsuit focuses on two spill plans—the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas spill plans—but ultimately it addresses requirements that apply nationwide.|