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Winning Cases With National Impact

February 01, 2013

Earthrise Law Center attorneys choose cases that make a positive difference for the earth, influence environmental law, and give law students practical legal experience. Here are a few examples.

Coal-Free Oregon—Earthrise Law Center’s win against PGE’s coal-fired Boardman plant means that, by 2020, the beautiful Columbia River Gorge will no longer be plagued by the air pollution caused by this plant. It is the largest coal case in the country and will likely have ripple effects in other communities affected by coal pollution.

Cool Fish—The Northwest’s cold-water salmon, steelhead, and trout have been in decline for years, in part due to elevated water temperatures caused by logging, agriculture, and other human activities. Thanks to Earthrise, the courts ruled the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Marine Fisheries Services, and the Fish and Wildlife Service violated their duties under the Clean Water Act to keep water cool. It’s a good step for endangered fish.

Paradise’s Waste—Hawai‘i wanted to ship its waste to a Washington landfill, but because of Earthrise’s work, the island paradise must deal with its own garbage.

Salmon and Dams—Earthrise argued that salmon and steelhead returns are hampered by dams. In its decision, the court sharply criticized the operations of federal dams in the Columbia and Snake Rivers and said agencies must improve salmon habitat, perhaps even modify dams to recover fish runs.

Ballast Water and Invasive Species—Earthrise’s efforts force the EPA to regulate ballast water from ships to prevent invasive species. This is an important victory in controlling invasive species like the Asian clam and Chinese mitten crab that clog intake pipes, harm comme

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