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:
|Giant Sequoia Monument Logging||
Challenge to the Forest Service management plan for Giant Sequoia National Monument, a plan that allows extensive logging in previously protected old growth habitat within the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Earthjustice sued on behalf of six organizations to protect this national treasure and the species that depend on it.
On August 22, 2006, a federal judge ruled that the plan to allow commercial logging in Giant Sequoia National Monument was illegal.
|Protecting Viable Wildlife Populations||A 1976 law requires the Forest Service to maintain viable populations of wildlife species on the national forests. In September 2004, the Bush administration rewrote rules adopted during the Reagan administation to gut what's called "viapops." In March 2007, the court ruled that the rewritten rules were invalid.|
|Grizzly Bear Road Standards||The Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service have approved new road access standards through grizzly bear habitat in Montana, Idaho, and Washington that are inadequate to protect the bears and their habitat. A lawsuit seeks to reform the standards.|
|Industrial Boilers||Challenge to EPA's defective Clean Air Act emission standards for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters.|
|Butte Creek FERC Consultation||
In this case, Earthjustice sought to compel the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to initiate formal consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the effects of the DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric project on federally-listed spring-run Chinook salmon, including the illegal take of thousands of pre-spawning adults on Butte Creek in recent years. On December 12, 2006, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that FERC is not required by the existing license to consult with NMFS regarding the effects of the project on newly listed species.
|Albatross Listing Petition||
The black-footed albatross, decimated long ago by hunters, is now being threatened by longline fisheries. Earthjustice filed a petition to get the species protected under the Endangered Species Act. In October 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that listing the albatross may be warranted, and is now deliberating whether to do so.
|Plywood Plants Standards||Plywood plants are a major source of toxic air pollutants, but the Environmental Protection Agency has been lax in writing and enforcing regulations to curtail the emissions. Earthjustice is in court to force the agency to obey the Clean Air Act.|
|BLM Wilderness Attack||In 2003, the Bush administration agreed to stop protecting millions of acres of potential wilderness. The agreement was the result of a suit by the state of Utah and others that was settled in secret. Conservation groups intervened, and are challenging the settlement in a very convoluted and drawn-out case.|
|Sewage Discharges in Washington DC Waterways||When big storms hit Washington, DC, raw sewage pours into the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and Rock Creek. This has been going on for years, but it took a lawsuit to force the city government to begin the process of fixing the problem. Progress has been made, but the suit continues.|
|Northwest Forest Plan: Aquatic Conservation Strategy||The Northwest Forest Plan was written to balance timber demand with wildlife needs. A part -- the Aquatic Conservation Strategy -- aims to protect salmon and clean water. The Bush administration has drastically weakened the strategy, and on March 30, 2007, a federal court found that administration acted illegally by suppressing scientific evidence.|
|Mercury from Chlorine Plants||Mercury is a well-known byproduct of burning coal in power plants, but another source -- chlorine plants -- goes unmeasured, let alone regulated. An Earthjustice lawsuit seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency to correct this dangerous situation.|
|California Spotted Owl||The Fish and Wildlife Service declined to grant federal protection to the California spotted owl arguing that a management plan known as the Sierra Framework would do so -- then it gutted the framework. Earthjustice has filed suit to seek Endangered Species Act protection for the owl.|
|California Logging Clean Water Exemption||The Clean Water Act is meant to clean up the nation's waterways. In some areas, however, exemptions have been issued that have hampered the goal. One such is in California, where three water boards have ruled that loggers are exempt. Earthjustice is challenging the exemptions in court.|
|Dioxin Discharge in Bay||In 2000 a regional water quality control board raised by five times the amount of dioxin the Tesoro Revinery is allowed to discharge into San Francisco Bay. Dioxin is the most toxic synthetic chemical known. A lawsuit successfully challenged the permit but was reversed and is on appeal.|
|Grand Canyon Humpback Chub||The population of humpback chub in the Grand Canyon has fallen by two-thirds since the species was protected 30 years ago. The reason: Glen Canyon Dam and invasive species. The recovery plan for the chub is totally inadequate to the task. Earthjustice is in court to force a better plan.|