ELF continues to work on improving environmental quality for communities and consumers by providing access to information and through the enforcement of environmental, toxics, and right-to-know laws. This list includes cases in active litigation, it does not include prior cases nor those in which settlements have been secured and are being monitored.
LEAD IN CHILDREN'S FOODS
(current case )
On September 28, 2011 the Environmental Law Foundation filed a lawsuit alleging the toxic chemical lead was found in a variety of children's and baby foods. The food categories are: grape juice, packaged pears and peaches, fruit cocktail, and baby foods containing carrots peaches, pears and sweet potatoes. The lawsuit seeks warning labels on the offending foods under Proposition 65, the Toxics Right to Know law.
ELF, et al. v. STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD, et al.
(protecting groundwater through the Public Trust Doctrine)
ELF, along with Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and Institute for Fisheries Resources, filed a lawsuit against the State Water Resources Control Board and Siskiyou County for violations of the California Public Trust Doctrine. The State and County have failed to manage groundwater extractions in the Scott River sub-basin in a manner consistent with their duties under the Public Trust Doctrine. As a result, numerous wells extract groundwater during irrigation season which cause a decreased flow in the Scott River, which injures the river’s populations of salmon and steelhead. This lawsuit seeks both declaratory and injunctive relief and hopes to protect the Scott River through better groundwater management by these responsible public entities.
CONTRERAS, et. al v. LAIDLAW TRANSIT INC., et al.
(false claims act lawsuit)
Two former Laidlaw mechanics are joined by ELF in litigation against Laidlaw Transit, Inc. for violating its contract with the San Francisco Unified School District, alleging Laidlaw operates unsafe, polluting school buses. The lawsuit is filed under the False Claims Act and seeks payment to the District for sub- standard services.
ELF, et.al v. LAIDLAW TRANSIT INC., et al.
(children's exposure to diesel engine exhaust)
Preliminary Injunction Motion, filed May 15, 2007 (pdf)
CENTER FOR BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY, et al. v. FPL GROUP, et al. (Public Trust - Amicus Curiae Brief)
ELF submitted an amicus curiae brief in this landmark case, spearheaded by the Center for Biological Diversity (“CBD”). In this case, CBD sued power companies for the operation of aging wind turbines on Altamont Pass, which kill thousands of raptors and other birds each year, on the theory that their operation violates the Public Trust Doctrine. In a unanimous opinion, the California Court of Appeals held that the Public Trust Doctrine does extend to the protection of birds and other wildlife.
ELF v. SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS COMPANY, et al.
(BTEX contamination of protected aquifers)
In California, water is our most precious natural resource. Unfortunately, California’s precious resource is being contaminated with chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects, chemicals that include Benzene, Toluene and Ethylbenzene (“BTEX”).
Southern California Gas Company operates a natural gas storage reservoir in the densely populated Playa del Rey region of Los Angeles. Wells from this underground gas storage reservoir are leaking and releasing BTEX into the Ballona, Silverado and Gage Aquifers, which are protected sources of drinking water under California’s water quality protection plan. This action seeks, among other remedies, civil penalties and injunctive relief to redress the discharge of BTEX from Defendants’ wells in violation of California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (“Proposition 65").
Exhibit 1 (pdf)
Exhibit 2 (pdf)
Exhibit 3 (pdf)
Exhibit 4 (pdf)
Exhibit 5 (pdf)
Press Release (pdf)
KARUK TRIBE OF CALIFORNIA v. US FOREST SERVICE
The Forest Service’s actions violate numerous federal environmental laws. The agency is violating their own Forest Plans and the National Forest Management Act by permitting mining in these waterways without requiring a Plan of Operations for each proposed mining operation. The agency is mandated to ensure there won’t be degradation to the natural resources which includes the salmon and their habitat. Further, the Forest Service is not preparing the appropriate NEPA document for each of these operations, let alone for combined or grouped operations, thereby preventing the agency from analyzing and balancing the potential environmental damage from suction dredge mining. Along with these failures, the Forest Service is allowing these operations to proceed without the required consultation with NOAA Fisheries/National Marine Fisheries Service and/or Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act to ensure the agency’s action will not jeopardize the listed Coho salmon and other listed species and/or their habitat. Finally, the Forest Service has not ensured that all discharges from mining operations it has or will authorize or allow will comply with all applicable water quality standards and requirements, in violation of the Clean Water Act and the Organic Act.
Working with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center in Oregon, ELF is representing several conservation groups in a challenge to the Meteor timber sale near the Salmon River on the Klamath National Forest. The claims involved in this case address the failure to comply with the Northwest Forest Plan's protection of old growth forests snags, and riparian areas; NEPA's requirement to consider a reasonable range of alternatives; NFMA's requirement to maintain viable populations of species, and to comply with state water quality laws; and the CWA's requirement to comply with state water quality standards.
ELF v. BIRDS EYE FOODS, INC., et al.
(acrylamide in potato chips)
Wiith Rose, Klein & Marias, LLP and The Law Office of Gideon Krakov, ELF is suing potato chip manufacturers and California retailers for failing to warn consumers about high levels of a cancer-causing chemical, acrylamide, in potato chips. This lawsuit seeks to enforce California's powerful right-to-know law, Prop 65, which requires that manufacturers warn consumers when their products expose them to cancer-causing chemicals. In this situation, significant amounts of a potent carcinogen, acrylamide, is formed during the processing of potato chips. California voters gave themselves the right to know about carcinogens in food in 1986, however, powerful junk food companies have been lobbying to keep this information under wraps and warnings off potato chip bags.
Complaint, filed August 8, 2006 (pdf)
ELF, et.al v. COST PLUS, INC., et al.
(lead in balsamic vinegar)
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