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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:

East Coast River Herring and Shad Protection Efforts Challenged Earthjustice is representing commercial and recreational fishermen in challenging two government agencies for failing to protect river herring and shad from being caught and killed by Atlantic industrial fisheries. The lawsuit challenges the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission for failure to conserve and manage river herring and shad populations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Cooperative Management Act, which were put in place to prevent overfishing, rebuild depleted stocks, establish annual catch limits and accountability measures and minimize bycatch.
Texas Coal Plant Sued Over Air Pollution Violations Earthjustice is representing the Sierra Club in its lawsuit against Texas coal plant owner, Luminant Generation Company, for repeatedly violating federal air pollution regulations. The company’s Martin Lake plant, one of the dirtiest coal plants in the nation, has accumulated more than 50,000 air pollution violations in the last five years.
Alaska Cruise Ship Wastewater Pollution Permit Challenge Earthjustice is representing the Campaign to Safeguard America’s Waters, a project of Earth Island Institute, and Friends of the Earth in challenging the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation’s decision to grant the permit that authorizes cruise ships to continue dumping pollutants without meeting the standards required by law.
EPA's Global Warming Endangerment Finding Challenged Earthjustice is representing Environmental Defense Fund as an intervener against industry court challenges to the U.S. EPA’s scientific finding that global warming pollution endangers public health in America.
Chlorpyrifos Pesticide Challenge Earthjustice is representing Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) in challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to make a decision on the banning of the pesticide chlorpyrifos. The toxic chemical is widely used in orchards and agricultural fields across the country. Exposure to the chemical has been linked to both short and long term health effects, such as headaches, seizures, low birth weights and developmental delays.
Ingredients in Gulf Oil Dispersants Challenged Earthjustice is representing the Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation in challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to reveal the secret ingredients in chemical dispersants that the agency has deemed eligible for use in oil spills.
Air Quality in the San Joaquin Valley

Air quality planning in the San Joaquin Valley is broken.  Under the Clean Air Act, EPA sets national standards and the state and local air districts are responsible for developing the plans for how areas that fail to meet those national standards will control pollution sources in order to come into compliance. For the last 10 years Earthjustice has been putting the pressure on EPA and the local air district to adopt meaningful plans and enforce the deadlines for agency action under the Clean Air Act.

Global Warming and Ships, Aircraft, and Non-Road Vehicles & Engines

Aircraft, ship and non-road vehicles and engines are major contributors to global warming pollution. Together they are responsible for 24 percent of U.S. mobile source greenhouse gas emissions, and emit approximately 290,000 tons of soot every year. Pollution from these sources is projected to grow rapidly over coming decades. Annual U.S. shipping emissions alone are equivalent to from 130 million to 195 million cars and are on track to triple over the next 20 years.

Na Wai Eha Treatment Plant Environmental Impact Statement Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Maui community groups Hui o Na Wai 'Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation challenging plans by Alexander & Baldwin, Inc. (A&B) to build a water treatment plant that would take contested stream flows from several Na Wai 'Eha streams, "the Four Great Waters" of Waihe'e River and Waiehu, 'Iao, and Waikapu streams on Maui, so that A&B can supply the treated water to its development projects and also sell it to Maui County. The proposal would redirect nine million gallons per day of diverted stream flows that A&B has claimed is essential for its Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar (HC&S) plantation and instead use it for A&B's land and water development plans.
J.K. Smith Power Plant Challenge

The East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) is proposing to build a new 278-MW coal-fired power plant, the new J.K. Smith Unit 1, at the J.K. Smith Power Station in Clark County, Kentucky. If constructed, the plant's carbon dioxide emissions will contribute to global warming, and emissions of other pollutants, ranging from particulate matter to mercury, will harm human health and the environment in myriad ways.

BP Oil Spill Plan Challenge

Earthjustice is representing the Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club in challenging the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) arbitrary approval of BP's oil spill clean-up plan. In its spill plan, BP claimed it could contain any possible spill by vacuuming up over 20 million gallons of oil per day. BP's actual recovery rate since the Deepwater Horizon explosion has turned out to be about two percent of that.

Offshore Oil Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

Earthjustice is representing the Gulf Restoration Network and  the Sierra Club in challenging the U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) for its policy put forth in a notice to the oil companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico; in its notice, MMS exempts those companies from being required to disclose in their exploratory plans a blow-out scenario, and a worst case scenario as required by law. The blow-out scenario and worst case scenario, if included, would disclose scenarios for a potential blow-out, including the maximum volume of oil that would be released, the maximum flow-rate of the oil, the maximum duration of the blow-out, and the estimated time it would take to contain such an oil spill. 

Pacific Fisher: Warranted, But Precluded

A close relative of the mink, otter, and wolverine, the Pacific fisher (Martes pennanti) once roamed the old-growth forests of the West Coast from Washington state to the Sierra Nevada. As with many other predatory species, however, fisher populations have declined dramatically in recent decades due to trapping, logging, farming, and fire. Survey information indicates that the fisher is likely extirpated from all of Washington, most of Oregon, and at least half of its range in the Sierra Nevada. The California population has been divided into two remnant populations, one in the northwestern part of the state and another small group in the southern Sierra Nevada believed to contain fewer than 500 individuals.

Tongass Roadless Exemption In 2009, a diverse coalition of Alaska Native, tourism industry, and environmental organizations challenged the Bush administration's 2003 rule "temporarily" exempting southeast Alaska's Tongass National Forest—the nation's largest and wildest—from the landmark 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule.
Salmon-Challis National Forest Travel Management Plan

The Salmon-Challis National Forest (SCNF) is located in east-central Idaho and covers some 4.3 million acres. It includes within its boundaries the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area, the largest wilderness area in the continental United States, as well as the Wild & Scenic Salmon River and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Even outside these protected areas, over a million acres of the Forest is wild, undeveloped, and roadless. Consequently, the SCNF is home to miles of pristine salmon streams and abundant and diverse wildlife. It is a unique and irreplaceable refuge for many species and for people who seek the untrammeled solitude of wild places.