We work on a LOT of issues, and good research, education and organizing are crucial to protecting our food, water and environment. But we have a clear path for challenging bad status quo: suing .
Our Justice team works for people and the environment, and holds corporations and government officials accountable. Here are some of the ways our small but powerful legal team is fighting for environmental justice around the country:
When the government allows corporate polluters to threaten our food, water and the planet, sometimes the best response is litigatio
1) Holding Factory Farms Accountable: Factory farms are an enemy to public health, the food we eat, rural communities and the environment. That’s why, around the country, we’re fighting factory farms in a number of ways.
- We’re suing North Carolina over it's unconstitutional “ag gag” law, which criminalizes whistleblower activity that exposes animal cruelty and dangerous working conditions.
- In Idaho, we filed a brief in a similar lawsuit, explaining how ag gag laws also threaten food safety by hiding dangerous and disgusting practices, such as allowing diseased animals into the food supply, from the public.
- We’re also suing the USDA for its irresponsible farm lending practices, which funnel millions of our dollars to promote construction of yet more polluting factory farms.
- Meanwhile: The EPA has also failed to protect our waterways and air quality from factory farm pollution, so we’re petitioning the agency to strengthen its rules, and will take it to court if it refuses to act.
- But we know we can’t wait for the EPA to stop factory farm pollution. So we’re also challenging weak water pollution permits for factory farms in Maryland and Delaware, and working with grassroots partners to improve state factory farm regulations in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Oregon, and elsewhere.
2) Protecting the Next Generation: We all have the rights to life, liberty and property under the 5th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. By actively permitting and encouraging fossil fuel expansion, the federal government is violating these rights. No pleading the 5th here - just suing for it.
- We filed court papers in support of a group of young people who have lodged an unprecedented lawsuit to force the government to adhere to its Constitutional duty to protect us from global warming.
- The brief is joined by Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace in support of the oceans. The underwater world is at risk because of global warming. It’s getting more and more acidic and the ecosystems we know and love (and also depend on) are suffering extensively. The ocean is nature’s defensive shield for even greater warming, sea-level rise, and flooding… so now we’re subbing in to take a turn at playing a little defense to protect our marine ecosystems.
- The government has also violated its duty to protect territorial seas that it has established control over. The law requires that the government protect these “public trust” resources. But by allowing and conducting fossil-fuel usage and spurring global warming, our government is failing to do so.
3) Keeping Our Infrastructure Public: President Trump secretly convened an advisory council to develop a plan to completely overhaul our nation’s infrastructure and, you guessed it, it also happens to be illegal, because he did it without the required public disclosures. Cue another lawsuit.
- We filed this suit against President Trump, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Commerce for operating in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act.
- Trump’s ‘advisory council’ was made up of two financially-conflicted real-estate developers… which should give you an idea of where their loyalties lie. We’re arguing that, simply put, communities deserve a seat at the table. And they deserve to know if Trump’s friends are the ones getting paid to build our country’s infrastructure.
- Our country desperately needs to invest in redeveloping, repairing and improving our infrastructure. If we don’t, our public water systems will continue to jeopardize the quality and safety of our water, and the amount that it costs.
- In sum: Trump’s commitment to rebuilding America’s infrastructure is nothing more than another massive corporate giveaway. The conflict of interest posed in Trump’s infrastructure plan means water price increases, lack of public accountability, and loss of jobs. We need paved roads, safe schools and clean water.
We will continue to use every tool in our toolbox to protect to hold the Trump administration accountable
When the government allows corporate polluters to threaten our food, water and the planet, sometimes the best response is litigation. These are just some of the actions our legal team is pursuing. We have over 30 legal actions filed or in development. And with your help, we will continue to use every tool in our toolbox to protect to hold the Trump administration accountable.