Earthrise 2014 Year in Review, New Hire and Breaking News
Earthrise 2014 Year in Review, New Hire and Breaking News
At Earthrise, we are passionate about using the law to protect and
restore the environment and the planet's natural resources, and about
training law students to become skilled environmental advocates.

In It For The Long Haul

Over the last 18 years, Earthrise has achieved many important legal victories for its clients and the environment. One lesson we have learned from those victories is that success usually takes much longer than we think it will. Sometimes we win quickly, but much more often, our initial complaint, or notice letter, is just the first leg of what turns into a litigation marathon. When we finally win cases, we can often collect substantial fee awards, but until we do, we still have bills to pay. Without support from foundations and our donors, Earthrise wouldn’t be able to take on the important environmental cases that require long term commitments.
Our perseverance--and victory in October--in the Wallowa-Whitman herbicides case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals provides a good example of our commitment. In 2008, the Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project first approached Earthrise for legal help challenging a series of decisions by the U.S. Forest Service that greatly expanded the use of toxic herbicides in eastern Oregon’s national forests. We were able to get the government to withdraw the first decision, for the Deschutes National Forest, at the administrative appeal stage thanks to a wonderful appeal drafted by an Earthrise student.
But the next decision—issued by USFS a few months later for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest—was much a much tougher nut to crack. We filed a lawsuit in the federal district court in Oregon in 2010. After extensive briefing and an argument before the district court judge, we won a partial victory that stopped about 75% of the spraying, albeit more than two years after we filed the complaint. 
Helicopter spraying herbicides
After this partial victory in 2012, Earthrise still faced expensive litigation on two different fronts. First we had to appeal a significant legal error by the district court which allowed the agency to continue some harmful herbicide spraying and set bad precedent for future cases. Second, we had to recover our fees for the claim we prevailed on before the district court. The agency’s lawyers opposed our efforts vigorously on both issues. It took another two years, until 2014, to gain important victories both before the Ninth Circuit and on the fee issue. Even after these rulings, we expect to face additional motion practice in 2015 in order to enforce these victories.
Earthrise’s work on these herbicide cases has achieved important protections for national forest resources, created significant legal precedents, and offered more than a dozen Earthrise students important practical experience. However, six years after first agreeing to take on the Forest Service’s illegal herbicide spraying decisions, and after legal victories in both the district court and the Ninth Circuit, Earthrise is still waiting to actually be paid for any of this legal work. Please give now to help sustain this important work.

   Time to Give

We sincerely appreciate our donors' help and hope you will continue to support us in all the lengthy litigation battles in our future. If you haven’t supported us in the past, we hope you will consider a donation so we can have the resources to increase our efforts in 2015. 
How much do our attorneys charge our clients to take on environmental cases? In the vast majority of cases, nothing, zero, zip -- because our clients can't afford to pay us. Because of our attorney's passionate dedication to protecting the planet, we rely mightily on donations from people like you. We ask for donations very rarely at Earthrise. In fact less than .5% of our budget goes towards fundraising. 
One of the best ways to support Earthrise is by becoming a monthly donor. Recurring donations help maintain our funding while we fight the legal battles that can take years. Becoming a monthly donor is virtually painless. Many people donate the amount of their hourly wage because if you'd donate an hour of your time to help the planet, why not donate the equivalent dollar amount?
Donate Here

2014 Victories

Earthrise has a remarkable record of success. Here are just a few of our victories from this past year:
  •  In a case challenging the largest commercial timber sale in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in more than twenty years, we won an appeal in the Ninth Circuit establishing that the Forest Service's decision didn’t consider impacts to elk habitat and would cause irreparable harm to our clients if the timber sale were allowed to go forward. We also convinced the district court to issue a broad preliminary injunction, stopping all commercial logging of large mature trees.
  • In a case of first impression, we invoked a law that requires federal agencies to consider all the purposes for acquiring new lands, including outdoor recreation, and stopped a proposal to allow mineral prospecting next to the Mount St. Helens National Monument.
  • In a case challenging the Forest Service's decision to greatly expand the use of herbicides in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, we won another appeal in the Ninth Circuit. The court ruled that federal agencies must expressly address how they are complying with substantive environmental protection laws in an environmental impact statement. 
  • We established that our clients have standing to challenge the long-term storage of nuclear waste in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • We have continued our fight to protect the Green River in western Illinois from illegal concrete dumping along its banks; in the meantime, all continued dumping has ceased.
  • We are continuing our long-time efforts to force EPA to properly regulate the risk of invasive species in ballast water discharges.  We have an argument in January in the Second Circuit, in New York, arguing that EPA’s latest general permit does not properly implement either the technology- or water-quality-based mandates of the Clean Water Act.
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 In This Issue

  • Earthrise's long haul cases
  • New Faculty Attorney Jamie Saul
  • Support Earthrise this year!
  • Breaking news on Buffalo River case!
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Support Earthrise! 

Without your donations, we would not be able to continue our work.
Jamie Saul

Earthrise Hires New Faculty Attorney
We are thrilled to announce that Earthrise has hired a new faculty attorney, Jamie Saul. Jamie rose to the top of a stunningly great applicant pool.  
Jamie graduated from Lewis & Clark Law School in 2007, with honors, and is also a former Earthrise student (back when it was called PEAC). He is very well acquainted with our clinic and is excited to come back into the fold when he starts work on January 5th.
After Jamie graduated from Lewis & Clark, he moved to Madison, Wisconsin to work as a Staff Attorney at Midwest Environmental Advocates, doing litigation and policy work towards protecting the public ‘s health, air and water quality. While at MEA, Jamie worked with environmental law students from the University of Wisconsin Law School’s clinical externship program. He was also a founding board member of the Midwest Environmental Defense Center, modeled after Lewis & Clark’s own NEDC. After founding a solo legal practice, he worked for 3 years at McGillivray, Westerberg & Bender, a public-interest law firm in which he became a shareholder.  He specialized in enforcement cases under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Jamie says he can’t wait to move back to Portland with his family to put down roots and build relationships with the law school community, our students and the rest of the Portland community. As Jamie explains, “On-campus clinics like Earthrise have the ability to facilitate closer, more productive, and more consistent working relationships between attorneys and students.”

Breaking News!

Just this week, a federal judge in Arkansas ruled that the Farm Services Agency (a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and the Small Business Administration violated NEPA and the Endangered Species Act in guaranteeing loans to a 6,500 head hog farm on a tributary of the Buffalo River, the Nation's first national river. 
In granting summary judgment to the Plaintiffs (Buffalo River Watershed Alliance, Arkansas Canoe Club, National Parks Conservation Association and the Ozark Society), the court enjoined the federal guarantees until appropriate environmental analysis was completed.  Earthrise is co-counsel on the case with Earthjustice and local Arkansas attorney Hank Bates, and many Earthrise students have worked on the case since its inception.

Issue No.

Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School 10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd. | Portland, OR 97219 US
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