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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:

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.
New York Title V Permits The state of New York issued operating permits to two large coal-fired power plants that violate provisions of the federal Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency should have invalidated the permits but failed to do so. Earthjustice is suing EPA to force it to enforce the law.
Site Remediation Exemptions When engineers go to clean up contaminated soil, they either 'rate the soil or heat it, turning what had been soil pollution into air pollution. The EPA used to regulate such remediation efforts, but in 2003 moved to exempt them. Earthjustice has sued to reinstate the regulations.
Ohio Clean Air Act Enforcement Many industrial facilities in Ohio emit illegal amounts of air pollution, operating with illegal permits or no permits at all. The Environmental Protection Agency should have taken steps long ago but has failed to so do. Earthjustice is suing to force the agency to do its job.
Pesticide Protection for Farmworkers The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing the continued use of azinphos-methyl and phosmet, two highly dangerous agricultural chemicals that attack human nervous systems and can cause death. Earthjustice represents farmworkers and others to halt the use of the chemicals. In April 2005, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of people to sue pesticide maufacturers to compensate for injuries caused by toxic pesticides. Earthjustice Managing Attorney Patti Goldman was the chief author of the friend of the court brief.
Anacostia Pollutant Discharges Challenged The Anacostia River in the nation's capital is badly polluted by raw sewage and stormwater. A lawsuit challenges inadequate pollution limits for the river.
Pesticide Protection for Children The 1996 Food Quality and Protection Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency to take special steps to protect children -- including the children of farmworkers -- from agricultural chemicals. The agency has failed to do so. Earthjustice is in court to make EPA do its job.
Iao, Waihe`e Aquifers Groundwater Management Seeks to designate the `Iao and Waihe`e Aquifers on Maui as ground water management areas under the Hawai`i State Water Code, thereby turning over management of the aquifers to the State Commission on Water Resource Management.
Everglades: Agricultural Pollution The legal battle to stop agricultural pollution the Everglades of south Florida has raged for years. Earthjustice has been in it from the beginning seeking to enforce the law and protect the Everglades.