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When we win...

Updated Feb. 22, 2021

We held the line. Now we make progress.

The previous administration under Trump launched an all-out assault on the environment. But Earthjustice successfully stopped many of the worst attacks.

Over four years, Earthjustice filed nearly 200 lawsuits to defend environmental and health protections. (Read the special report analyzing the legal fights.)

Rulings on the merits of 55 of the lawsuits have now been decided. Earthjustice has won 46 of the battles — more than 80% of the legal challenges decided thus far.

These hard-fought court victories have saved lives and preserved the possibility for repair. Now, with a new administration committed to science and the rule of law, we’re confident that many of the remaining illegal Trump actions will be overturned or replaced with stronger protections.

Earthjustice never backed down. And — regardless of administration — we will never rest in the fight for people and the planet.

What the court rulings achieved:

Overruled: Arctic and Atlantic Ocean Executive Order.
Photo by James Mason for Earthjustice
Climate and Fossil Fuels

1. Arctic and Atlantic Oceans Defense.

Mar. 19, 2019 U.S. District Court of Alaska

A federal court strikes down Executive Order 13795, ruling that President Trump overstepped his constitutional authority and violated federal law. The administration had attempted to reverse a ban on oil and gas drilling in the vast majority of the Arctic Ocean and important areas of the Atlantic Ocean.

The ruling prevented imminent leasing and restored permanent protections from drilling.

Our Clients.

Alaska Wilderness League, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Greenpeace, League of Conservation Voters, NRDC, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction on Indigenous Lands), Sierra Club, The Wilderness Society

Natural Resources Defense Council was co-counsel.

Creatas Video / Getty Images

2. Yellowstone Grizzly Bears.

2. Yellowstone Grizzly Bears.

Sept. 24, 2018 U.S. District Court of Montana

Trophy hunts are halted on the day before they were to begin, when a federal court ruled the decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem was illegal.

A year earlier, in defiance of the best available science, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service had removed federal protections, clearing the way for the hunts.

Our Clients.

Northern Cheyenne Tribe, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, National Parks Conservation Association



Overruled: Chemical Disaster Rule.
Photo courtesy of Jesse Marquez
Health and Communities

3. Chemical Disaster Rule Delay.

Aug. 17, 2018 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. EPA is forced by a federal court to end its delay of life-saving protections that safeguard first-responders and approximately 177 million people who live, work, and go to school within the worst-case scenario zones for industrial chemical disasters.

The agency had been delaying implementation of the protections since March 2017, based on petitions from industry trade associations.

Our Clients.

Union of Concerned Scientists, Environmental Integrity Project, Sierra Club, Coalition For A Safe Environment (Wilmington, CA), Del Amo Action Committee (Torrance, CA), California Communities Against Toxics, Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Air Alliance Houston, Community In-Power & Development Association (Port Arthur, TX), Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services, Clean Air Council (Philadelphia, PA), Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (West Virginia)



Overruled: Chlorpyrifos.
Martin do Nascimento / Earthjustice
Health and Communities

4. Chlorpyrifos.

Apr. 19, 2019 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

A three-judge panel orders U.S. EPA to decide whether to ban chlorpyrifos, a dangerous pesticide known to harm human health, water, and wildlife. The agency had, in 2017, reversed its own proposal, refusing to ban chlorpyrifos.

U.S. EPA has continued to refuse to take action. On Aug. 6, 2019, Earthjustice again took the administration to court for its defiance of the law and science.

Our Clients.

League of United Latin American Citizens, Pesticide Action Network North America, NRDC, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, GreenLatinos, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Hispanic Medical Association, Pineros Y Campesinos Unidos Del Noroeste, United Farm Workers



Overruled: Federal Coal Leasing.
Photo courtesy of Ecoflight
Climate and Fossil Fuels

5. Federal Coal Leasing Moratorium.

Apr. 19, 2019 U.S. District Court of Montana

The administration violated the law when it opened up America's public lands to coal leasing just two months after coming into office, ruled a federal court.

The pause in coal leasing on federal public land had been ordered in 2016 to allow time to review and reform the federal program to ensure protection of the climate.

Our Clients.

Citizens for Clean Energy, Defenders of Wildlife, Montana Environmental Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, WildEarth Guardians



Overruled: Ozone Designations Delay.
Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice
Air Toxics

6. Smog Designations Delay.

Mar. 12, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

A federal court rules U.S. EPA must tell the public where smog levels exceed safety standards. Once the designations are issued, the work of cleaning up elevated smog levels can finally begin.

The agency itself estimated that compliance with the 2015 ozone standard will save hundreds of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of asthma attacks in children every year.

Our Clients.

American Lung Association, American Public Health Association, American Thoracic Society, Appalachian Mountain Club, National Parks Conservation Association, NRDC, Sierra Club, West Harlem Environmental Action



Overruled: Ozone Designations Delay.
Mining, Waste, Coal Plants

7. Rosemont Copper Mine.

Jul. 31, 2019 U.S. District Court for Arizona

At the 11th hour, a federal court halts a copper mine from desecrating Native American Tribes’ ancestral grounds.

The court fundamentally disagreed with the U.S. Forest Service's assumption that a mining company had the right to obliterate public lands to pave the way for quick profits for the company.

Our Clients.

Tohono O’odham Nation, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, Hopi Tribe



And there’s more:

Air Toxics

13. Pennsylvania Nitrogen Oxide Controls

Aug. 27, 2020 Third Circuit Court of Appeals

A week rule by U.S. EPA is struck down by the court; coal-fired power plants in Pennsylvania will now have to curb their NOx emissions.

Climate and Fossil Fuels

16. Montana BLM 2017/2018 Lease Sales - Groundwater

Feb. 23, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

BLM failed to consider risks to Montana’s environment and water supply before issuing 287 oil and gas leases.

Health and Communities

17. County of Maui v. Hawaiʻi Wildlife Fund

Apr. 23, 2020 U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled to keep the Clean Water Act intact, dealing a major loss to the Trump administration and its pro-polluter agenda.

Health and Communities

18. EPA Science Advisory Board

Apr. 21, 2020 D.C. Court of Appeals

U.S. EPA illegally excluded independent scientists from its scientific advisory boards.

Health and Communities

22. Manufactured Housing Efficiency Code

Nov. 2, 2019 D.C. District Court

U.S. Dept. of Energy required to issue long-overdue energy efficiency standards for new manufactured homes.

Health and Communities

23. TSCA Framework Rules

Nov. 14, 2019 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

The U.S. EPA illegally gutted crucial chemical safety rules needed to protect families and workers from toxic chemicals.

Health and Communities

25. Fairbanks PM2.5 Nonattainment

Oct. 23, 2019 U.S. District Court for W.D. Wash.

U.S. EPA is required to begin a review of long-overdue plans addressing Fairbanks’ notorious and deadly air pollution levels before Jan. 15, 2020.

Public Lands and Oceans

26. South Florida Dredging FOIA

Oct. 8, 2019 U.S. District Court for S.D. Fla.

U.S. Army Corps agreed to provide all documents requested, without redactions, following a challenge filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Public Lands and Oceans

28. Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis Project

Sept. 23, 2019 U.S. District Court for Alaska

Initial phase of a staggering logging project in the Tongass National Forest placed on hold a day before bids were scheduled to open.

Health and Communities

36. Agricultural Worker Protection Standard Delay

Jun. 22, 2018 U.S. District Court for S.D. N.Y.

Less than a month after Earthjustice files suit, U.S. EPA finally publishes the Notice of Availability in the Federal Register for improved pesticide training materials.

Health and Communities

38. Certified Pesticide Applicator Rule Delay

Mar. 21, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

The court orders U.S. EPA to stop allowing child workers to handle dangerous pesticides — effectively immediately.

Health and Communities

39. Formaldehyde in Wood Products

Mar. 13, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

A successful lawsuit ends U.S. EPA’s repeated delays in restricting carcinogenic gas emissions from composite wood products.

Climate and Fossil Fuels

40. BLM Methane Rule Delay

Feb. 23, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

A second attempt by the Interior Dept. to stay the BLM Methane Rule is rejected.

Climate and Fossil Fuels

41. Signed Energy Efficiency Rules

Feb. 15, 2018 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

The Dept. of Energy is ordered to publish four illegally stalled energy efficiency standards that put at risk bill savings, pollution reductions.

Health and Communities

43. Paint and Dust Lead Standards

Dec. 27, 2017 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. EPA ordered to move forward on revising dangerously outdated standards on allowable lead levels in paint and dust.

Climate and Fossil Fuels

44. BLM Methane Rule Suspension

Oct. 4, 2017 U.S. District Court for N.D. Calif.

The Trump administration illegally suspended the BLM Methane and Waste Prevention Rule without necessary public comment.

Climate and Fossil Fuels

45. Oil and Gas Leak Repairs

Jul. 3, 2017 D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

U.S. EPA attempted to delay the effectiveness of standards limiting emissions of methane and other pollutants from sources in the oil and gas sector. Earthjustice's request for summary vacatur of U.S. EPA's stay was granted, reinstating protections.Learn more.



No other organization has filed more federal lawsuits over the past decade to protect the environment than Earthjustice.

Alongside our clients, partners, and dedicated supporters, we are uniquely prepared to hold the government accountable to the rule of law.

The Earth needs a good lawyer. And in this pivotal moment, Earthjustice has more than 140. We’re the lawyers for the environment, and the law is on our side. The hard work of fighting for a healthy environment for all is not going away. And we’re ready for it.

Our lawyers are in courts across the country to defend our planet.