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:
|New York Title V Permits||The state of New York issued operating permits to two large coal-fired power plants that violate provisions of the federal Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency should have invalidated the permits but failed to do so. Earthjustice is suing EPA to force it to enforce the law.|
|Site Remediation Exemptions||When engineers go to clean up contaminated soil, they either 'rate the soil or heat it, turning what had been soil pollution into air pollution. The EPA used to regulate such remediation efforts, but in 2003 moved to exempt them. Earthjustice has sued to reinstate the regulations.|
|Ohio Clean Air Act Enforcement||Many industrial facilities in Ohio emit illegal amounts of air pollution, operating with illegal permits or no permits at all. The Environmental Protection Agency should have taken steps long ago but has failed to so do. Earthjustice is suing to force the agency to do its job.|
|Pesticide Protection for Farmworkers||The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing the continued use of azinphos-methyl and phosmet, two highly dangerous agricultural chemicals that attack human nervous systems and can cause death. Earthjustice represents farmworkers and others to halt the use of the chemicals. In April 2005, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of people to sue pesticide maufacturers to compensate for injuries caused by toxic pesticides. Earthjustice Managing Attorney Patti Goldman was the chief author of the friend of the court brief.|
|Anacostia Pollutant Discharges Challenged||The Anacostia River in the nation's capital is badly polluted by raw sewage and stormwater. A lawsuit challenges inadequate pollution limits for the river.|
|Pesticide Protection for Children||The 1996 Food Quality and Protection Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to take special steps to protect children -- including the children of farmworkers -- from agricultural chemicals. The agency has failed to do so. Earthjustice is in court to make EPA do its job.|
|Iao, Waihe`e Aquifers Groundwater Management||Seeks to designate the `Iao and Waihe`e Aquifers on Maui as ground water management areas under the Hawai`i State Water Code, thereby turning over management of the aquifers to the State Commission on Water Resource Management.|
|Everglades: Agricultural Pollution||The legal battle to stop agricultural pollution the Everglades of south Florida has raged for years. Earthjustice has been in it from the beginning seeking to enforce the law and protect the Everglades.|
|Lake Okeechobee Backpumping, Florida||
Millions of gallons of polluted water coming off of half a million acres of sugar cane fields and cities are pumped into Lake Okeechobee by the South Florida Water Management District. The discharge contaminates drinking water supplies and fertilizes toxic blue-green algae blooms. Earthjustice filed suit demanding the district obtain Clean Water Act permits for its discharges and comply with water quality standards in the lake.
On December 11, 2006, a federal district judge in Miami ruled that the district must comply with the Clean Water Act. And on Jun 15, 2007, a federal court issued an injunction requiring the South Florida Water Management District to apply for pollution permits to engage in pumping dirty water into the lake.
As a result of our victory in court, one of the larger landowners near Lake Okeechobee, U.S. Sugar -- which farming operations resulted in polluted water being pumped back into Lake Okeechobee -- negotiated with the state of Florida to sell its 185,000 acres of lands and shut down the sugar growing and processing operations. With large-scale sugar processing phased out, once again the natural flow of water will return and help to restore the Everglades.
|Okinawa Dugong & Proposed Airbase||The American military is trying to force the Japanese government to build a new airbase on a reef used by endangered dugong (cousin to the Florida manatee) for feeding and resting. In January 2008, a federal judge ruled against the Department of Defense, ordering the DoD to consider the impact of the base on the dugong's habitat.|
|Central Valley Steelhead Intervention||A group of irrigation districts has filed suit to strip Endangered Species Act protections from steelhead trout that spawn in rivers that flow through the Central Valley in California. Earthjustice represents fishing organizations and conservation groups trying to maintain the protections.|
|Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout Listing||Ninety-nine percent of the Rio Grande cutthroat trout's original habitat is lost and 95% of its remaining population is subject to existing threats. But the Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to protect it under the Endangered Species Act so Earthjustice is asking for a court order.|
|International Right to a Healthy Environment||Earthjustice is involved in an effort to persuade the United Nations that the right to a safe, healthy, and healthful environment is a basic human right and, as such, is protected by various existing human rights agreements and conventions. Considerable progress has been made.|
|Mountain Yellow-Legged Frog: ESA Protection||A couple of years ago conservationists sued to gain Endangered Species Act protection for the yellow-legged frog in the Sierra Nevada. The government stalled, then said the species was "warranted but precluded" from protection. The suit now seeks to overturn that decision.|
|Sierra Framework Appeal||Environmental groups have challenged the revised Sierra Framework that would triple the volume of logging on the eleven national forests in California's Sierra Nevada, while at the same time eviscerating species protections contained in the original plan, particularly for the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher.|