Environmental Law Foundation

ELF Protects Communities

ELF vs. DARIO L. PINI

(lead paint)

ELF joined the Legal Aid Society of Los Angeles in this action on behalf of low-income renters, whose apartments were being illegally renovated with the intention of driving the tenants out. ELF brought its expertise on lead paint and Proposition 65 to bear, to buttress the claims the tenants had, and forced a legal and safety conscious lead abatement and removal program to preserve the housing while protecting the tenants.

* ELF has brought a number of cases involving the threat to public health from lead in paint.

CalPIRG CHARITABLE TRUST AT SAN DIEGO and ELF vs UNIBID CORPORATION, et al.

(pesticides)

Federal and state law expressly prohibit using any terms such as “safe,” “safe for children” or other phrases when advertising services for pesticides. After all, pesticides are designed to kill. ELF and CalPIRG caught several termite and exterminators using those terms, trying to portray themselves as good for children, health, pets or the environment. The companies were forced to rescind those advertisements and provide positive, truthful information to prospective clients about how to protect themselves, their children and pets from pesticide applications.

ALVISO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION and ELF vs. GEORGE P. MACIEL, et al.

(asbestos)

The Alviso community is an isolated neighborhood of 300 people – nearly all low-income Latinos – in an area of San Jose adjacent to the San Francisco Bay that sits below sea level and is surrounded on all sides by levies. Unfortunately, the ring levy around the community and the illegal businesses on the entire north half of the area were all built with local gravel containing asbestos. Wind off the bay swept the asbestos into and onto homes, resulting in children being forced to wear dust masks to walk to school, and levels of asbestos in homes that were higher than occupational regulations would allow in a workplace. Although declared a Superfund site, the federal EPA had an inadequate remediation plan. ELF teamed up with local activists and brought in a huge law firm to sue every illegal business (none had all their permits, many had no permits, and some were not even in the right zoning areas for businesses). ELF did massive testing, forced the sealing of the contaminated ground, and drove many of the illegal businesses out. It was a unique and successful partnership of local activists, environmental specialists and big-time lawyers.

NRDC, COALITION FOR CLEAN AIR and ELF vs. LUCKY STORES, INC., et al
NRDC, COALITION FOR CLEAN AIR and ELF vs. THE VONS COMPANIES and SAFEWAY INC.
NRDC, COALITION FOR CLEAN AIR and ELF vs. RALPHS GROCERY COMPANY

(diesel exhaust)

ELF worked with other environmental groups to attack the problem of significant diesel exhaust pollution that arose from extensive grocery store terminal facilities onto adjacent, mostly low income, communities. The groups documented the high levels of diesel exhaust wafting onto and into homes, and working with the Attorney General’s office, crafted settlements to give people warnings and to change the way trucks operate, idle and reduce diesel exhaust.