Mason Trinca for Earthjustice

Our Work

We go to court to defend the planet and its people

At Earthjustice, we believe the fights for justice and our environment are inseparable. We are committed to the law, our clients, and the planet.

Our Goals

Earthjustice is unique in the approaches we use to achieve our goals and the scale at which we work. Wherever you live, we are fighting for you.

In our connected world, each of our goals are deeply intertwined.

End the extraction and burning of fossil fuels

We expose the true costs of the main driver of climate change and public health ills by enforcing pollution control requirements, blocking new fossil fuel infrastructure, and more. See how.

Power everything with 100% clean energy

We are cultivating a zero carbon emissions, pollution-free electricity grid by phasing out fossil-fuel power generation, eliminating barriers to renewable energy, and more. See how.

Secure clean air and water as rights for all

We clean up the air we breathe and the water we drink, by enforcing science-driven laws, compelling agencies to regulate the cumulative impacts of pollution, and more. See how.

Build a justice-centered environmental movement

We support our partners in their pursuit of intersectional justice by enforcing emission control requirements from industrial facilities, and more. See how.

Remove toxic chemicals and products from our daily lives

We enforce chemical regulations to limit exposure to toxic chemicals, litigate to force public disclosure of health and safety information, and more. See how.

Farm sustainably for healthy lives, lands, climate

We make our nation’s food system safer and cleaner by enforcing laws to support climate-friendly and sustainable agriculture, challenging the worst abuses of industrial agriculture, and more. See how.

Safeguard lands and waters

We reduce and prevent unsustainable development and resource extraction, support Tribal sovereignty and stewardship of lands and water, and more. See how.

Protect species biodiversity

We are confronting the major drivers of the decline in nature and protecting imperiled species and the ecosystems that support their lives — and ours. See how.

Our Approach

When we say we’ll sue, it’s not a threat. It’s a promise — a promise that until we achieve a better future for all, our pursuit for justice will never rest.

More than 200 Earthjustice attorneys are litigating hundreds of cases to enforce and defend environmental protections. (See a summary of Earthjustice’s Strategic Plan.)

Some of our cases are fought for decades. A rare few succeed in just days. Most are in between. Still many others never go to court, achieving on-the-ground change through strategic legal and administrative advocacy.

We work exclusively in partnership, because we believe we are stronger together.

Our clients, in court and administrative proceedings, include hundreds of public-interest and community organizations.

We represent all our clients for free. Through our work, we seek to broaden the environmental movement by elevating voices and bringing together allies who support each others’ intersectional goals.

Examples of how we work:

Yellowstone Grizzlies Fossil Fuel Export Terminals Chlorpyrifos

Yellowstone Grizzlies

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The Greater Yellowstone Region is the grizzly’s last stronghold in the lower 48. Warming temperatures have led to alarming die-offs of the region’s whitebark pine trees, whose highly nutritious seeds allow grizzlies to survive the harsh winters.

Problem emerges. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service moves to “delist” Yellowstone’s grizzlies from the Endangered Species Act in 2007, claiming the grizzlies no longer need protection.

Earthjustice files legal challenge, documenting the decline of the whitebark pine and demonstrating importance of the food source, using government's own studies

Courts agree with Earthjustice’s argument that FWS is ignoring its own science and strikes down the attempt to strip protections from Yellowstone’s grizzlies

In 2017, in defiance of the best available science and amid a rise in grizzly deaths, FWS again strips Yellowstone’s grizzlies of protections

Grizzlies can now be trophy hunted in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming for the first time in 40 years

Earthjustice challenges FWS’ decision on behalf of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe and conservation groups

Trophy hunts in Wyoming and Idaho will begin on Sept. 1, 2018

Less than 48 hours before the beginning of the scheduled hunts, Earthjustice argues in federal district court to overturn the grizzly delisting

Immediately after the court hearing, Earthjustice requests temporary restraining order to stop the hunts

Later that afternoon and just hours before the hunts begin, the court grants request to temporarily halt the hunts, saving the grizzlies

District court later rules FWS’ decision violates the law. 9th Circuit rejects FWS’ appeal.

Federal protections are restored to Yellowstone’s iconic grizzly bears

Earthjustice is working on multiple fronts to sustain the earth’s biodiversity, protecting imperiled species and the ecosystems that support their lives and our own

Fossil Fuel Export Terminals

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Problem emerges. Industry seeks to turn the Pacific Northwest into a massive hub shipping coal overseas and crude oil to the West Coast. The buildout would come at a tremendous cost to air and water quality, our health, and the climate

By 2012, six coal export terminals are proposed in Washington and Oregon

A growing number of oil transport projects are also proposed

Alongside an unprecedented coalition mobilizing Tribes, local officials, community groups, and more, Earthjustice challenges each coal terminal

On behalf of the Quinault Indian Nation, Earthjustice challenges attempts to turn Grays Harbor into an industrial oil transport zone

In litigation against the Millennium coal terminal, Earthjustice’s lawyers uncover a memo among 40,000 pages of documents, detailing secret plans to increase coal shipping twelve-fold

Public outrage leads the terminal developer to withdraw its application

Litigation up to the state Supreme Court defeats the Grays Harbor oil terminal

A series of victories against the Millennium terminal will lead to its eventual abandonment

Meanwhile, the fight against the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal has begun

In close partnership with advocacy groups building a formidable coalition, Earthjustice heads the legal strategy

After a five-week trial, a state agency unanimously recommends denial of Tesoro-Savage, an extraordinarily rare action

The permit for the Port of Morrow coal terminal is denied, due to potential harm to Tribal fisheries

Gateway Pacific coal terminal near Bellingham is also defeated

Legal challenges and community opposition defeat a crude oil-by-rail project in Anacortes

During an 11-year legal campaign, every coal export terminal proposal is abandoned, withdrawn, or defeated

Tesoro-Savage terminates its lease. The West Coast’s largest proposed oil terminal is no more.

Earthjustice’s litigation prevents new fossil fuel infrastructure from locking us into continued dependence


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In the 1960s, U.S. companies adapt Nazi chemical weapons to create the pesticide chlorpyrifos

Problem emerges. Chlorpyrifos is widely used in U.S. agriculture, despite growing evidence that it permanently harms children.

In 2007, on behalf of United Farm Workers and farmworker advocates, Earthjustice files the first of six lawsuits seeking a ban on chlorpyrifos

Pesticide Action Network and NRDC also petition EPA to ban chlorpyrifos

EPA delays action for years, while acknowledging chlorpyrifos causes learning disabilities and lifelong harms

EPA reveals drinking water in the U.S. is likely contaminated with unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos

9th Circuit Court of Appeals rules on Earthjustice’s lawsuit, ordering EPA to act on the ban petition

EPA issues 2016 health assessment concluding that all food exposure to chlorpyrifos exceeds safe levels

EPA proposes to end food uses of chlorpyrifos, but delays final action

5.6 million pounds of chlorpyrifos are sprayed on 48 food commodities in the U.S. in 2017

Trump administration takes office and refuses to finalize chlorpyrifos ban

Chlorpyrifos continues to be widely used

On behalf of health, labor and civil rights groups, Earthjustice challenges EPA’s refusal

9th Circuit rules in our clients’ favor again, ordering EPA to make a decision

EPA declines to ban chlorpyrifos, claiming more study is needed

Earthjustice and our clients take EPA back to court

9th Circuit issues scathing opinion ordering EPA to take final action to protect children from chlorpyrifos

Our clients and allies press the Biden administration for a full ban on chlorpyrifos

Facing the court-ordered deadline, EPA issues a final rule in 2021, finally banning chlorpyrifos use on food

Alongside our clients and partners, Earthjustice works to end use of the most dangerous pesticides, including the entire class of organophosphate pesticides

Where We Work

Across the United States and in many countries, our programs and regional offices focus on distinct dockets of regional, national, and international scope.

Our Regional Offices

With deep roots in key regions, our lawyers are closely connected to the people we serve and the places we protect

Our Programs

Focused on many of the pressing challenges of our time and advancing the right to a healthy environment for all

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The Legal Forums

Earthjustice’s attorneys litigate at every level of the judicial system, in administrative law courts, and in public utility commissions where our energy future is being decided today.

Graphic of the three tiers of the federal court system, with arrows showing the level of hierarchy; District Court to Court of Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court.

The federal court system has three tiers. Most of our national cases start in district court and are resolved in the court of appeals or at the U.S. Supreme Court. We also engage in many state courts.

Winning the legal case is only part of the battle. Earthjustice's litigation work is strengthened by critical legislative work and policy reforms. We bring our legal expertise and amplify our clients’ voices on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country.