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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:

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.

Challenging the Flawed EPA Air Pollution Plan for "Scenic Landscape" States Conservation and public health groups seeking to restore clear skies over some of our nation’s most scenic landscapes have filed a challenge with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver against plans approved by the Environmental Protection Agencythat allow coal-fired power plants in Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming to escape federal requirements to reduce their emissions of haze-causing pollutants. The exemptions are being challenged by HEAL Utah, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Powder River Basin Resource Council, and Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice.
Wyoming Fracking Chemical Information Disclosure In an effort to help protect the public from exposure to toxic chemicals, the Powder River Basin Resource Council, Wyoming Outdoor Council, Earthworks and OMB Watch are in court to require the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to disclose information about chemicals used during the controversial oil and gas development process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Challenging Ammonia Emissions from an Industrial Egg Farm Earthjustice and Lynch & Eatman, LLP are representing Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, Waterkeeper Alliance, Inc. and Friends of Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in efforts to clean up ammonia pollution from a massive industrial chicken operation. Rose Acre’s Hyde County facility, the largest industrial egg farm in North Carolina, includes twelve high-rise henhouses equipped with giant ventilation fans. The fecal matter, feathers, dust, ammonia and other pollutants blown out of the chicken houses enter the surrounding areas and the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which is less than one and a quarter miles from the facility.
Protecting Communities from Chrome Plating Facilities On behalf of local and national environmental groups Clean Air Council, California Communities Against Toxics, and Sierra Club, Earthjustice is challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s weak emission standards for chromium electroplating plants, facilities that emit dangerous amounts of cancer-causing hexavalent chromium.
Reid Gardner Haze Rule The Moapa Band of Paiutes and environmental allies filed suit in federal court over the issue of air pollutants from the Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant located just a couple hundred yards from the homes of Moapa Paiute families. The lawsuit is being filed in the 9th Circuit Court by Earthjustice on behalf of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, Sierra Club, and National Parks Conservation Association.
Challenging Unregulated Fracking in California As hundreds of California oil and gas wells undergo dangerous hydraulic fracturing without government oversight, environmental advocates, represented by Earthjustice, are in court to force the agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry to abide by the state’s foremost law that protects public health and the environment. The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, charges that the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources has failed to consider or evaluate the risks of fracking, as required by the California Environmental Quality 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.

Chemical Oil Dispersants & the Clean Water Act The Clean Water Act requires EPA to identify the waters in which dispersants and other spill mitigating devices and substances may be used, and what quantities can be used safely in the identified waters, as part of EPA’s responsibilities for preparing and publishing the National Contingency Plan. The Plan governs responses to discharges of oil and hazardous substances. But the use of toxic dispersants in response to the 2010 Gulf oil disaster was implemented without prior understanding of the effect on the Gulf of Mexico marine ecosystems and human health.
Challenging Weak Regulations to Clean Up Haze in National Parks Earthjustice, on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association and the Sierra Club, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to force the clean-up of polluting coal plants that degrade visibility and harm human health in national parks, wilderness areas, and other public lands.
Legal Fight For Long Overdue Coal Ash Protections

Every day, power plants generate over 400,000 tons of toxic coal ash. Most of this waste, which is filled with arsenic, mercury, lead, selenium, cadmium and other pollutants that cause cancer and more, is simply dumped into unlined and unmonitored landfills and ponds. On behalf of 11 national and local environmental and public health groups, Earthjustice is suing the federal government to set a deadline to adopt federal coal ash protections.

Grand Canyon Uranium Mining

Earthjustice has intervened to defend the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

U.S. Needs to Get the Lead Out of Aviation Fuel

While lead was phased out of automobile gasoline more than 15 years ago, it persists as a constituent of aviation fuel, or avgas, used by general aviation airplanes. Aviation is the single largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. and poses a significant threat to public health -- especially in communities located near airports.

Air Pollution Loophole Challenge Earthjustice is representing Sierra Club, Montanans Against Toxic Burning, Huron Environmental Activist League and Downwinders at Risk in challenging an egregious air pollution loophole supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The suit disputes the Obama EPA's unprecedented assertion that burning industrial solid waste as a fuel—akin to coal or natural gas—is a form of recycling, and therefore not subject to key provisions of the Clean Air Act that protect people from the harmful air emissions that result.
Genetically Engineered Alfalfa Challenge

Earthjustice is representing a diverse coalition of conventional and organic farmers, dairies and agricultural associations, and environmental and consumer groups in challenging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s decision to deregulate a variety of alfalfa genetically engineered to tolerate exposure to the herbicide glyphosate. Earthjustice, together with the Center for Food Safety, is challenging the deregulation under the National Environmental Policy Act, the Plant Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.