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:
|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.
|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.