|Streams & Wetlands Threatened by Industry Suit||Oil industry groups have sued the Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to greatly weaken regulations designed to prevent oil spills into United States waters. Earthjustice has intervened to oppose the industry challenge.|
|Mountaintop Removal in West Virginia||
Mountaintop removal is one of the most environmentally destructive activities in the country. The Army Corps of Engineers has issued permits for four mines that will dump millions of tons of rock and debris into nearby streams and valleys, burying them forever. The permits were issued without the required environmental studies and impact statements. On March 23, 2007, a federal judge agreed and rescinded the permits.
In February 2008, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling by the judge. Earthjustice requested a rehearing by the full court, which denied the petition. Earthjustice has asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
|Mexican Border Power Plants||
Suit to force the US Department of Energy to conduct a thorough environmental assessment before authorizing operation of power plants owned by US corporations and constructed in Mexico to supply power to the US energy market.
As a result of this suit, the court ordered that the DOE conduct an environmental assessment before authorizing electricity transmission.
|Kensington Mine Project||
In issuing a permit for a gold mine, the Army Corps of Engineers considered the mine’s chemically processed, toxic mine waste to be “fill material” under the Clean Water Act, bypassing strict EPA limits for this type of pollution. As a result, millions of tons of mine waste will be dumped into a pristine sub-alpine lake in Southeast Alaska, killing all fish and aquatic life in the lake.
In March 2007, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal announced that the permit to allow the mine waste to be dumped in the lake was illegal and would be struck down. On October 29, 2007, the same court—in this case, all 27 active judges—refused to reconsider the decision made in March.
In a 6–3 decision on June 22, 2009, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal. The mine is now operating and dumping its waste in the lake, but Earthjustice and others are working to change agency rules to avoid this result in the future.
|Air Toxics: Mercury & Power Plants||
The EPA exempted power plants from Clean Air Act regulations, even though these power plants emit into the air tons of mercury and other toxins -- known threats to human health.
In February 2008, a federal appeals court ruled that the EPA did not have the authority to exempt the power plants.
|Greenhouse Gases & Global Warming||The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the position that it will not regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as "pollutants" under the Clean Air Act. Earthjustice challenged that position in court, on behalf of Sierra Club. On April 2, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the Clean Air Act does give the EPA the authority to regulate these emissions from cars.|
|Eight-Hour Ozone Standards||On April 30, 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency released final rules to control smog. Unfortunately, the rules fall well short of what public health and the law require. An Earthjustice suit is pending in federal court.|
|Power Plant Threat in Yellowstone||The government blessed a new coal-fired power plant planned for central Montana that would pollute the air over Yellowstone and other clean-air places despite objections from the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Earthjustice challenged the plant in court, the government withdrew the approval, and the case was dismissed.|
|Air Toxics: Enforcing Deadlines||Lawsuits to compel EPA to create overdue regulations to control air toxic emissions and protect public health|
|Air Toxics: Challenging Weak Standards||Earthjustice has filed several suits to force EPA to establish more effective regulations for key industrial categories|
|Smog in the Nation's Capital||The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly approved inadequate plans to impove air quality in the nation's capital and Earthjustice has repeatedly filed suit to force the agency to obey the law. The agency -- and the city -- are stubborn, however, and the case goes on.|
|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.
|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.
|Industrial Boilers||Challenge to EPA's defective Clean Air Act emission standards for industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters.|