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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:

Defending Improved Furniture Flammability Standard

A coalition of fire safety and health groups, represented by Earthjustice, has intervened to support the recently updated California furniture flammability regulations, which have been challenged by the major chemical manufacturer Chemtura. Effective January 2014, the revised regulations provide stronger protections against the leading causes of furniture fires, and allow furniture manufacturers to reduce their reliance on harmful flame retardant chemicals.

Challenging Crude-by-Rail Shipments to California's Bay Area

Earthjustice, on behalf of environmental justice and conservation groups, has filed a lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to halt the shipment of highly explosive and toxic crude oil into the City of Richmond, a community already burdened by intense pollution caused by the fossil fuel industry.

Protecting Air Quality in California's Antelope Valley

Earthjustice is representing Desert Citizens Against Pollution, a group of Antelope Valley residents, in a lawsuit against the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District over its decision to approve a large—570-megawatt—gas-fired power plant.

Challenging EPA's Failure to Require Pesticide Ingredient Disclosure

Earthjustice is representing Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility in a case challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to complete rulemaking that would require pesticides manufacturers to disclose the inert ingredients found in their products. An inert ingredient is any ingredient that is “not active,” or not targeted to killing a pest. Frequently these chemicals are more toxic than active ingredients, which manufacturers are required to disclose.

Defending Tahoe National Forest

Conservation and recreation groups, represented by Earthjustice, took legal action to uphold a U.S. Forest Service plan that keeps motor vehicles out of sensitive natural areas in the Tahoe National Forest of northern California. The groups filed a motion to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought by off-road-vehicle users opposed to limits on cross-country driving. In defending the Forest Service, the advocates for public lands argue that requiring motor vehicles to use designated roads and trails is crucial to protecting the forest from further environmental damage.

Keeping Lake Tahoe Blue: Tahoe Regional Plan Update

Two Tahoe conservation groups, the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore, represented by Earthjustice, have filed a federal lawsuit challenging new rules for Lake Tahoe that seriously reduce protections for the treasured mountain lake. The new Tahoe Regional Plan Update shifts authority over future development decisions to local jurisdictions and allows those towns and counties to adopt weakened pollution controls that do not meet the minimum environmental requirements established by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Advancing Clean Energy: Energy Storage

Energy storage systems can use mechanical, chemical, or thermal processes to store energy; these processes range from battery technologies to energy storage within compressed air or molten salt.

Challenging EPA's "Free Pass" for the Avenal Power Plant

A coalition of conservation and environmental justice groups, represented by Earthjustice, are challenging an extension of a federal air pollution permit for the Avenal Power Plant, a proposed 600-megawatt facility that would emit hundreds of tons of air pollution in the San Joaquin Valley.

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 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.

Protecting Bees from the Pesticide Sulfoxaflor

National Beekeeping organizations are represented by Earthjustice, in an appeal against EPA for its approval of the pesticide Sulfoxaflor, shown to be “highly toxic” to honey bees, and other insect pollinators.

Helping Communities Fight Power Plant Air Pollution

Public advocates, represented by Earthjustice, are in court to ensure California citizens have full access to the legal system to protect themselves from power plant air pollution and have a say about where and when new plants are built.

Banning Dangerous Rat Poisons The American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, are taking legal action to support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to ban sales of several harmful rodenticides.
Challenging Fees For Industrial Polluters in Southern California

Earthjustice is representing the Natural Resources Defense Council and Communities for a Better Environment in challenging a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would relieve major industrial sources in the smog-choked L.A. region from Clean Air Act obligations to pay a fee for their emissions that contribute to ozone pollution in the region.

Cleaning Up Fine Particle Pollution

Following a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of American Lung Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, and Medical Advocates for Healthy Air, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement stronger requirements to clean up particulate matter, also known as “soot,“ one of the deadliest forms of air pollution.