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:
|Protecting the Ecology and Economy of Salish Tribes||
Coast Salish peoples on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border vowed to oppose Kinder Morgan’s TransMountain proposed pipeline project as intervenors before Canada’s National Energy Board. Coast Salish intervenors include the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, Tulalip Tribes, Lummi Nation, and Suquamish Tribe in Washington state, and the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations in British Columbia.
|Protecting Marine Mammals from Navy Sonar in the Pacific Northwest||
A coalition of conservation and American Indian groups, represented by Earthjustice, have sued the National Marine Fisheries Service for failing to protect thousands of whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions from U.S. Navy warfare training exercises along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington.
|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.
|Cutting Climate Pollution from Washington's Oil Refineries||
Earthjustice is representing clean air advocates a lawsuit to require five oil refineries in Washington State to improve energy efficiency and take other steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Oil refineries are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions nationally, and Washington’s five oil refineries contribute significantly to statewide greenhouse gas emissions.
|Ending Coal-Fired Power Production in Washington with Innovative Rate-Making Mechanisms||
Earthjustice, representing NW Energy Coalition, sought to increase energy efficiency in Washington State and reduce fossil fuel combustion at the state and regional level. Utility profits are generally tied to (coupled with) sales. Successful energy efficiency programs reduce sales, making it difficult for the utility to cover its costs. A comprehensive “decoupling” provision would the utility achieve even greater energy efficiency savings while making its revenue more predictable.
|Protecting Coos Bay's Estuary from Massive Dredging Project||A coalition of local residents, grassroots environmental and clean-energy activists, represented by Earthjustice, have asked the Oregon Court of Appeals to put the brakes on a Oregon Department of State Lands’ dredging permit that paves the way for the Port of Coos Bay to export dangerous liquefied natural gas (LNG) or coal and other bulk commodities to Asia.|
|Protecting Grays Harbor from Becoming an Industrial Crude Oil Zone||
The Quinault Indian Nation, represented by Earthjustice, is opposing the first of at least three proposed oil shipping facilities that could transform Grays Harbor, WA into an industrial crude oil zone.
|Seeking Solutions to Critical Salmon Barrier on Rogue Basin’s Evans Creek||
In the wake of failed efforts to broker the voluntary removal of the Rogue Basin’s defunct Fielder Dam, Earthjustice, representing WaterWatch of Oregon, has filed suit in U.S. District Court, contending that the dam harms threatened coho salmon in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
|Minnesota Haze Challenge||
Clean air groups are appealing the EPA’s decision to approve a significant portion of Minnesota’s Regional Haze State Implementation Plan—a weak approach that will not result in cleaning up dirty coal-fired plant pollution.
|Washington State Building Code Intervention||
In February 2011, a federal court upheld Washington’s 2009 building energy code in a victory for conservation and energy groups. Buildings are responsible for 40% of our nation’s total energy use, and constructing energy-efficient new buildings helps reduce energy use and homeowners’ energy bills.
|Challenge to Washington State Coal Export Facility Permit||
Earthjustice is representing a coalition of conservation and clean energy groups in challenging a state shoreline permit authorizing the construction of a coal export facility in Longview, Washington, that will export millions of tons of coal overseas.
|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.|
|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.
|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.
|TransAlta Coal Plant Permit||
In the fight against coal plants, most progress by the environmental community in recent years has been to stop new plants or large new expansions, in part because old plants often have the benefit of "grandfather" type provisions in the law. That has left many old, very dirty coal power plants chugging away, belching huge quantities of global warming pollutants and other air pollutants. Earthjustice and several client groups have decided to take a run at changing that.
A subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation, a Canadian company, owns an old, dirty coal power plant in Centralia, Washington. The plant has never had to control mercury (a potent neuro-toxin) or global warming pollutants. That makes it the largest source of these pollutants in the state -- 10% of Washington's total greenhouse gas emissions come from just this one coal plant. The TransAlta coal plant also emits huge quantities of nitrogen oxides (NOx) -- a pollutant that is causing haze pollution to dirty the air of what should be our most pristine areas: national parks and wilderness areas. The TransAlta plant degrades the air quality in Mt. Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades National Parks along with Goat Rocks and Mt. Adams wilderness areas, among others. The National Park Service estimates that the TransAlta plant cumulatively pollutes the air in more parks and wilderness areas than any other polluter in the entire United States. Yet, TransAlta continues to fight putting adequate controls on its NOx pollution saying it just doesn't want to spend the money.
We disagree with TransAlta's balance sheet mentality. We think clean air, public health, and doing something now about the dangers of global warming is priceless and necessary for our kids and grandkids. Therefore, Earthjustice, on behalf of the Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, has filed suit challenging renewal of TransAlta's air permit for its complete failure to control mercury and global warming pollutants from the plant and for its failure to put the best controls available on NOx pollution that is harming parks and wilderness areas.