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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.

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.

Defending Uniontown, AL from Toxic Coal Ash

Earthjustice is representing six Alabama residents in a civil rights complaint under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits recipients of federal funds, including state agencies, from taking actions or implementing policies that have unjustified disproportionate adverse effect on the basis of race. The complaint is against the Alabama Department of Environmental Management for reissuing and modifying Arrowhead Landfill’s permit without proper and readily enforceable protections of public health.

Protecting Consumers from Mercury in Seafood

Consumer protection and environmental advocates, represented by Earthjustice, have filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for failing to respond to a July 2011 petition in which the groups asked the FDA to give consumers clear, accurate and accessible information about toxic mercury in the seafood they eat.

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 Fenceline Communities From Oil Refinery Pollution

About 150 oil refineries nationwide are filling their neighborhoods with toxic air pollutants that can cause serious health problems. Earthjustice is representing communities who suffer from this pollution in a lawsuit to force the EPA to clean up these dirty operations.

Cleaning Up the Air in Fairbanks, AK

The Fairbanks North Star Borough has some of the worst and most dangerous air quality in the nation. Alaska community groups have joined together to demand that responsible officials address the problems that Borough residents and their families face when simply breathing in Fairbanks.

Engineering an Environmental Disaster: 2,4-D Resistant Crops

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has released its draft Environmental Impact Statement that dismisses the significant harms of a new class of genetically engineered crops and the powerful and toxic herbicide they were manufactured to resist: Dow AgroScience’s 2,4-D resistant “Enlist” corn and soy. 2,4-D is a component of Agent Orange, the notorious defoliant manufactured by Monsanto and Dow. USDA proposes to allow farmers to plant 2,4-D resistant corn and soy wherever they please without any government oversight, and downplays any and all impacts.

Cleaning Up the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers Watersheds

Earthjustice, on behalf of the Anacostia Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Friends of the Earth, Waterkeeper Alliance, Pat Munoz and Mac Thornton, has filed a challenge involving a state-issued pollution discharge permit for Montgomery County’s 499-square mile stormwater system.

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.

Defending Kaua’i Pesticides Ordinance

Earthjustice and the Center for Food Safety are prepared to intervene on behalf of community groups to defend a Kauaʻi County Council ordinance restricting the use of pesticides near sensitive areas by companies developing GMO crops, if any companies challenge it in court.

Clean Air Standards for New Wood Boilers and Furnaces

National health and environmental groups, represented by Earthjustice, have filed a legal challenge to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to update clean air standards that limit emissions from new outdoor wood boilers, furnaces and other similar sources that discharge large volumes of smoke and soot. This review is 17 years overdue, resulting in increased exposure to harmful smoke and soot in communities across the nation despite the wide availability of cleaner technologies.

Fighting for Cleaner Air in Utah’s Uinta Basin

A coalition of public health and conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, is pressing their case against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the agency’s failure to protect the Uinta Basin of northeast Utah from dangerously high levels of smog pollution. Wintertime smog in the basin in recent years rivaling that usually found in Los Angeles and Houston has resulted from air pollution generated by booming oil and gas operations and other industrial activity.

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.

Stopping Destruction at Kentucky's Stacy Branch Coal Mine

Earthjustice, representing local residents, is challenging a permit for a new mountaintop removal coal mine, the Stacy Branch mine near the town of Vicco in eastern Kentucky.