David Henkin

Deputy Managing Attorney Mid-Pacific Office


Media Inquiries

Miranda Fox
Public Affairs and Communications Strategist

Bar Admissions

HI, CA (inactive)

David defends Hawaiʻi’s precious landscapes, from Oʻahu’s Mākua Valley to the surrounding tropical waters.

He was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated summa cum laude from Yale College in 1987 and then attended Yale Law School, where he was an editor on the Yale Law Journal and active in the Environmental Law Association. Following graduation from law school in 1991, David clerked for the Honorable R. Lanier Anderson III, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, before moving to the Bay Area to pursue a career in public-interest environmental litigation.

In 1995, David moved to Hawaiʻi to join Earthjustice’s Mid-Pacific office in Honolulu, and became a senior attorney in 1998.

At Earthjustice, David has filed cases on a wide variety of issues, including the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Water Act, and various Hawaiʻi environmental laws.

David’s work has focused on securing Endangered Species Act protection for Hawaiʻi’s unique and imperiled flora and fauna, including a landmark 1998 case that held unlawful the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to designate critical habitat for 245 endangered and threatened plants endemic to Hawaiʻi.

The Latest from David Henkin

February 2, 2022

In the News: Associated Press

US Navy appeals Hawaii order to drain military fuel tanks

“It is now time for the Navy to stop fighting the emergency order, which seeks to remove the existential threat that the Red Hill facility poses to Oahu’s people. If the Navy won’t voluntarily defuel the Red Hill tanks, we will vigorously defend the emergency order in court.”
February 1, 2022

In the News: Maui Now

Hawaiʻi lawmakers, environmental groups ‘disappointed’ with DoD plans to appeal emergency order at Red Hill

“If the Navy’s contamination of its own water system last November taught us anything, it’s that we cannot leave it up to the military to decide what is needed to protect O‘ahu’s irreplaceable drinking water supply.”
January 26, 2022

In the News: The Guam Daily Post

Prutehi Litekyan files federal lawsuit against Air Force

“The whole point of the National Environmental Policy Act is to force federal agencies like the Air Force to consider the harm their proposed projects would inflict and to look at better ways to get the job done before they make a decision to proceed.”
April 23, 2021

In the News: E&E News

Military's mess sparks Guam Superfund battle

"Particularly in the Pacific, there is this history of environmental racism, and a constant neocolonial narrative that's playing out."
January 13, 2021

In the News: The Hill

Endangered Species rollback faced early pushback within administration, emails show

“Interior under Dave Bernhardt is just gunning to gut the ESA, and the fact that clearly they were proposing things that were a bridge too far even for the Trump NOAA and National Fisheries Service is pretty telling.”
Earthjustice attorney David Henkin holds a Newell’s shearwater chick in Maui.
August 18, 2020

Fixing Hawai'i’s Power Lines and Street Lights to Save Seabirds and Sea Turtles

Bad infrastructure in Hawaiʻi is putting wildlife at grave risk. The solution is actually quite simple.
Dead dolphin
November 5, 2015

New Navy Agreement Means Dolphins Won’t Die in Vain

A recent settlement agreement with the Navy ensures that marine mammal deaths will now be investigated to help avoid additional military sonar-related deaths.
Dolphins swim in advance of Virginia-class attack submarine PCU Minnesota.
April 15, 2015

Whales Blow Hole in Sonar Plan

A judge tells the Navy that it doesn’t need access to every square inch of the ocean to conduct training exercises. There is a better way to protect both our country and our wildlife.
Algal blooms at Kahekili.
June 11, 2014

Maui County Facing Fine for Dirty Water Dumping

County subject to millions in penalties for illegal discharges from Lahaina injection wells
December 13, 2013

Defending a Species Paradise

Earthjustice uses the ESA to protect Hawai‘i’s many vulnerable species.
February 17, 2011

Era of Mortars and Artillery Shells Ends For Makua

The Army’s announcement in January that it is abandoning plans to resume the most destructive type of live-fire training at Makua Military Reservation on O‘ahu represents a major step forward in Earthjustice’s longstanding effort to protect Makua’s unique biological and cultural treasures. Makua, which means “parents” in Hawaiian, is home to more than 40 federally…
April 10, 2009

Defending False Killer Whales from Commercial Fishing in Hawai'i

A new scientific study (pdf) paints a bleak picture for Hawai’i’s false killer whales. For nearly a decade, the National Marine Fisheries Service’s data(pdf) have shown the Hawai’i longline fishery is killing these rare marine mammals at rates far beyond what the population can sustain. The latest data show the number of false killer whales in…