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.

Protecting the Māui Dolphin at the Court of International Trade

On July 1, Earthrise legal fellow, Dani Replogle, represented our clients Sea Shepherd New Zealand and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in an oral argument before Judge Katzmann of the Court of International Trade. In the argument--Dani's first--she defended Sea Shepherd’s request for a preliminary injunction that would force the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adimistration’s (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to ban the import of fish caught with commercial nets that threaten the Māui dolphin, a marine mammal found only off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island. There are fewer than 57 Māui dolphins over the age of 1 remaining in the wild, and commercial gillnets and trawl nets are the primary threat to the dolphin’s recovery. 
In her presentation to Judge Katzmann, Dani argued the Marine Mammal Protection Act’s Imports Provision demanded an import ban in light of New Zealand’s failure to ensure its fisheries were not killing Māui dolphins in excess of U.S. standards. Despite its reputation as one of the greenest and most sustainable countries in the world, New Zealand has allowed the dolphin population to dwindle so low that even one instance of bycatch could send the population on an irreversible decline toward extinction. Yet, New Zealand has repeatedly refused to prohibit the use of dangerous fishing nets throughout the entirety of the dolphin’s habitat. 
“Allowing NOAA to interpret U.S. standards in a way that condones the continued killing of a species on the brink of extinction would completely undermine the Marine Mammal Protection Act,” said Dani. “That’s not what Congress intended and we are optimistic that Judge Katzmann understands that.” A recording of the argument can be found here. Dani and the rest of the Earthrise team are eagerly awaiting the court’s ruling on the preliminary injunction motion, as well as motions to dismiss from NOAA and the New Zealand government, which intervened as a defendant in the case.

Thank You, Dani!

A few weeks after that Māui dolphin argument, Dani completed her two-year stint with Earthrise in late August. From helping to halt a dangerous mineral prospecting project outside of Mount St. Helens National Monument to arguing before the Court of International Trade on behalf of New Zealand’s Māui dolphins, Dani contributed to a variety of crucial environmental battles during her fellowship. With her passion for combatting industrial animal agriculture, Dani was especially enthusiastic about the opportunities her fellowship provided to litigate against The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) inadequate oversight of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) in Idaho and to testify before the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the environmental impacts of slaughterhouses. Dani’s last victory as an Earthrise fellow was successfully filing a rare petition for mandamus before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in an attempt to force EPA to address nutrient pollution in Puget Sound. Dani said this about her fellowship.
“Throughout all the uncertainties and challenges, I never doubted that Earthrise was the right place for me to spend my first two years as an attorney. I have so much respect for each and every member of the staff, and I am just incredibly grateful that they trusted me with such important matters. It has been an honor to work alongside such hardworking and caring people, and I hope I’ll do them proud as my career progresses.” Dani now resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota where she plans to continue pursuing environmental justice through litigation.

Earthrise Student Argues in Court and…Wins!

On July 19, U.S. District Judge David Nye issued a 36-page opinion that is nothing short of a sweeping victory for Earthrise clients, Northwest Environmental Advocates and Idaho Conservation League, as well as the aquatic species that call Idaho’s rivers home. The court found that EPA had violated the Clean Water Act by failing to adopt mercury water quality standards for Idaho, after the state’s deletion of its mercury criteria and years-long refusal to remedy the problem.  
Earthrise, along with co-counsel and Earthrise alum Laurie Rule at Advocates for the West, has a long-running case against EPA in Idaho for various violations of the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. Over the course of seven years, we were able to resolve through settlement—in two different phases—all but one claim in the case. Our final claim is a claim against EPA for failing to perform its mandatory duty to develop water quality standards for the protection of aquatic life from mercury pollution, in the face of Idaho’s failure to do so.
Then third-year clinic student, Michael Benjamin Smith (’21), played a significant role in briefing this claim on summary judgment last fall and winter. Michael drafted substantial portions of both our opening brief and reply brief on summary judgment. And overall, he was critical to developing and fleshing out our legal arguments. Because he was so exceptional, and because Earthrise aims to give students the most “real life” experience as possible, we asked Michael if he would like to appear in federal court to do the oral argument. 
In June, Michael and Co-Director Allison LaPlante traveled to Boise for Earthrise’s first in-person argument since the pandemic began. Michael was amazing in court. After the oral argument, the judge, his clerk, and opposing counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice each took the time to compliment Michael on his excellent written and oral advocacy. And Michael’s work paid off. We are proud of this win for the environment, but equally proud Michael’s role—the success of our Tomorrow’s Advocates program.

In This Issue

  • Maui Dolphins
  • Fellowship Changes
  • Earthrise Student Secures Victory for Idaho's Rivers
  • Summer Clerk Successes
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Hike or Bike with us in the Spring

Out of an abundance of caution, and due to changing event protocols given the rise of the Delta variant, Earthrise will be postponing the hike or bike event to celebrate our 25th anniversary. The event will now take place on Saturday May 14th, 2022, on the same loops with an after-party still at Sellwood Park. We hope that you can join us!

In the meantime, please check out our stylish and limited-edition 25th anniversary shirt (pictured above), tote, and mug designs here. All purchases help fund our continuing work of advocacy and education, and are a fun and functional way to celebrate our 25th year!

Welcome Aboard, Alex

Earthrise is excited to announce the hiring of our newest legal fellow, Alex Houston. He joined us last month after graduating at the top of his class and taking the Bar exam. Alex was the student law clerk for the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and a leader within the Earthrise clinic. He was an excellent summer clerk for us in the summer of 2020. Alex was a member of Lewis & Clark’s highly selective environmental law moot court team, which landed a semi-final finish in the national competition. He is especially excited to join us back in the office as both his clinic and summer clerk experiences were remote. Alex had this to say about joining Earthrise as a fellow.

"I’m thrilled to join Earthrise this fall as the new Legal Fellow! While working as a law clerk for the clinic during my 2L summer and 3L year, I got to see firsthand the kind of impactful work Earthrise does on a daily basis. During that time, I gained experience working with nearly every major federal environmental statute, and my lawyering skills improved tremendously while drafting sections of briefs and legal memos, all while collaborating with the fantastic Earthrise attorneys and staff. As a Legal Fellow, I’m excited to continue developing those skills and take on more responsibility across the docket. The position provides a great opportunity to not only learn from the best but to make a meaningful difference on environmental issues in the Northwest and in Earthrise’s cases across the country."

Legal Clerks See Earthrise through another Strong Summer

Left to Right: Claire Deuter, Eddie Kelinsky, Chelsea Stewart-Fusek, Matt Campa. Not Pictured: Colin Reynolds
Earthrise had a great and productive summer with the help of five rising 3L clerks. We started the summer remote, but were able to get back to in person work and instruction in Wood Hall as vaccines rolled out. We were even able to hold a few “PEACnics”, lunch potlucks honoring Earthrise’s original namesake.
Claire Deuter was a familiar face to us, as she was part of the Earthrise clinic last year and had already worked on several of our cases by the time she started this summer. She comes to us by way of South Dakota and was able to develop as a law student and litigator through her clinic experience. She had this to say about her time working at Earthrise.
“Through my summer clerkship at Earthrise, I have gained hands-on experience and developed essential skills for my future in environmental litigation. With the support of experienced attorneys and legal fellows, I have drafted various legal documents like briefs, memos, and complaints. I have also gained practical litigation skills by learning how to file court documents, prepare for oral arguments, and interact with clients and opposing counsel. Earthrise has provided me the opportunity to work on environmental issues I am passionate about, such as marine mammal protection, animal welfare, and forest protection. I feel very fortunate to clerk for an organization that cares deeply about its work as well as its people.”
Rising third year law student Matt Campa, from Salinas, California, has been able to gain experience working on matters and cases that study or directly challenge government agency decision-making.
“My summer clerkship with Earthrise afforded me an opportunity to develop real-world experience and legal skills unavailable through any academic course. I conducted a review of the Corps’ Section 404 program in Alaska, wrote myriad legal memorandum, and briefed courts on the Forest Service's failure to consider impacts under NEPA related to timber sales in the Sierra Nevada. The Earthrise attorneys and staff supported my growth, pushed me when necessary, and ultimately facilitated my next chapter as an advocate. Thank you, Earthrise.”
Without full-time summer clerks Earthrise would not be able to offer the excellent year-round legal representation our clients expect. The environmental community also benefits from increasing the pool of law school graduates with substantial real-world experience and training. Earthrise students are tomorrow’s advocates for our natural heritage.



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