Since NRDC’s founding in 1970, our attorneys have been at the forefront of the environmental legal movement. In 2006, we established the Litigation Team—a specialized team of attorneys who litigate across the breadth of NRDC’s specializations—to bolster our litigation capacity, particularly in complex and evidentiary cases. We litigate across a broad range of environmental and public health issues, often working closely with NRDC’s subject-matter experts. In addition to representing NRDC, our attorneys may also represent other nonprofit organizations, community groups, and individuals.
Today, the litigation team includes about 40 attorneys and assistants in Chicago; New York City; San Francisco; Santa Monica, California; and Washington, D.C. In federal and state courts across the country, we advance and defend environmental protections and hold polluters accountable when they break the law. Our recent work includes:
- Helping secure safe drinking water for people whose water was contaminated with lead in Flint, Michigan; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Newark, New Jersey;
- Securing a settlement requiring industry to fund at least $187 million for the cleanup of mercury contamination in Maine’s Penobscot River;
- Halting illegal approvals for the Keystone XL pipeline;
- Securing the closure of a coal-fired power plant outside Peoria, Illinois, with a settlement of millions of dollars for job training, public health, and clean energy projects in the surrounding communities;
- Restoring and defending national monument protections, offshore drilling bans, and wildlife and endangered species protections;
- Battling unlawful rollbacks and agency inaction on clean water safeguards, fuel efficiency and energy efficiency standards, pesticides and toxics regulations, and government accountability rules; and
- Representing California communities in their efforts to clean up air pollution from Port of Los Angeles traffic and to stop hazardous waste mismanagement at a chemical manufacturing plant.
Winning a case and translating that victory into real-world results may take years, or even decades. It may involve intensive discovery, evidentiary hearings, or complex remedy implementation efforts. But we persist as long as it takes because we’re fighting for healthy people, healthy ecosystems, and a just, climate-resilient future.