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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:

NFMA Rule Challenge

A 1976 law requires the Forest Service to protect wildlife on the national forests and allow citizens to participate in management decisions. The Bush administration has moved to reduce protections and all but cut citizens out of the process. Earthustice filed suit to challenge the new rules. In March 2007, a federal judge invalidated the administration's new regulations.

Wyoming Wolf Plan Intervention Wyoming's wolves are protected by the federal government. The state wants to take over management and allow the killing of wolves. The Fish and Wildlife Service denied Wyoming's plan; ranchers, farmers, and others filed suit; and Earthjustice intevened to assure a stout defense of the wolves.
Rock Creek Mine The Fish and Wildlife Service rewrote a biological opinion that originally said that a mine proposed in the Cabinet Mountains in Montana could wipe out grizzly bears and bull trout there -- the new opinion says the mine poses no threat. A district court has now ruled that opinion illegal too, halting the mine for now.
Lake Okeechobee Pollution Limits

Lake Okeechobee in Florida is overloaded with fertilizer and animal waste from cattle and dairy farms as well as other sources. Existing restrictions are inadequate to the task of cleaning them up. Earthjustice successfully sued to make the authorities follow the law and clean up waterways tributary to the Lake.

Sacramento-San Joaquin River Salmon Biological Opinion This lawsuit challenges NMFS' politically motivated "no jeopardy" biological opinion on the effects on five ESA-listed salmon and steelhead species of the proposed long-term operations, criteria and plan for the jointly operated federal Central Valley Project and State Water Project -- a plan that would pave the way for dramatically increased exports of water from the Bay Delta.
Inuit Human Rights and Climate Change

Earthjustice is working with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference to protect the human rights of the Inuit people in their struggle against climate change.

Delta Smelt Biological Opinion

The tiny smelt that lives in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has been declining for years. Studies clearly indicate that increasing diversions of water would harm the fish, but the administration decided to proceed anyway. Earthjustice and NRDC sued to block an offending biological opinion.

The court ruled in our favor in December 2007.

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.