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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:

Shoreline Certification Rules A state board's improper definition of shoreline is contributing to the loss of beaches throughout Hawai'i.
Air Toxics: Mercury & Power Plants

The EPA exempted power plants from Clean Air Act regulations, even though these power plants emit into the air tons of mercury and other toxins -- known threats to human health.

In February 2008, a federal appeals court ruled that the EPA did not have the authority to exempt the power plants.

Greenhouse Gases & Global Warming The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the position that it will not regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as "pollutants" under the Clean Air Act. Earthjustice challenged that position in court, on behalf of Sierra Club. On April 2, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Clean Air Act does give the EPA the authority to regulate these emissions from cars.
Eight-Hour Ozone Standards On April 30, 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency released final rules to control smog. Unfortunately, the rules fall well short of what public health and the law require. An Earthjustice suit is pending in federal court.
Power Plant Threat in Yellowstone The government blessed a new coal-fired power plant planned for central Montana that would pollute the air over Yellowstone and other clean-air places despite objections from the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Earthjustice challenged the plant in court, the government withdrew the approval, and the case was dismissed.
Wolverines: Legal Protection Needed

The wolverine is generally intolerant of human disturbance in its habitat. Its presence in a area signifies untrammeled, uncompromised wilderness. This lawsuit asked a federal court to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's refusal to consider new legal protections for the wolverine.

In October 2006, a federal judged ruled that the FWS wrongly rejected scientific information regarding the wolverine that "shows a dramatic loss in range, the tangible decrease in population with the commensurate threat of genetic isolation of subpopulations, and the threat posed by human encroachment on wolverines."

FCC Towers

Tens of thousands of communication towers dot landscapes across the country. In Texas alone, there are over 10,000 of these towers; the FCC receives approximately 20-25 new applications for tower construction each month. These towers pose a significant threat to endangered bird species, especially migratory birds. This filing sought to compel the FCC to revise its rulemaking and consider the impacts within an environmental impact study that a new tower may pose.

In February 2008, a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC did not follow the law to carefully consider the possible adverse effects to migratory birds when it issues permits for towers.

Otero Mesa

Otero Mesa is a desert grassland in New Mexico that provides habitat for several federally protected species. Conservationists and the State of New Mexico want to protect the most sensitive areas, while the Bush administration wanted to throw it all open to oil and gas development.

On April 28, 2009, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision invalidating the Bush administration drilling plan for Otero Mesa.

Air Toxics: Enforcing Deadlines Lawsuits to compel EPA to create overdue regulations to control air toxic emissions and protect public health
Air Toxics: Challenging Weak Standards Earthjustice has filed several suits to force EPA to establish more effective regulations for key industrial categories
Appeals Reform Act The Bush administration has put forward new regulations that would eliminate the right of ordinary citizens to participate in the management of their nation's forests. Earthjustice has challenged the regulations in court.
Pesticide Impacts on Salmon & Steelhead Back to court to force EPA to abide by court order.
Coastal Cutthroat Listing Cutthroat trout that live in coastal rivers in the Pacific Northwest and California have declined sharply owing primarily to habitat destruction, but the Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to protect them. A lawsuit aims to rectify that dire situation.
Columbia River Hydropower Reform A combination of dams, diversions, pollution, and other factors has reduced the populations of wild salmon in the watershed of the Columbia to a tiny fraction of their historic size. Earthjustice is involved in several lawsuits aimed at restoring the salmon and making the river more hospitable to them.
Smog in the Nation's Capital The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly approved inadequate plans to impove air quality in the nation's capital and Earthjustice has repeatedly filed suit to force the agency to obey the law. The agency -- and the city -- are stubborn, however, and the case goes on.