Basic Organization Information
- Also Known As:
- Physical Address:
San Francisco, CA
- Web URL:
- Blog URL:
- NTEE Category:
C Environmental Quality Protection, Beautification
C99 Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C.
D Animal related
D30 Wildlife Preservation/Protection
V Social Science Research Institutes
V26 Law, International Law, and Jurisprudence
- Year Founded:
- Ruling Year:
- How This Organization Is Funded:
Individual Donors - $19,315,907
Foundations - $10,577,759
Court Awards, Case Cost Recoveries - $3,679,220
Earthjustice is a nonprofit public interest law organization dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment. We bring about far-reaching change by enforcing and strengthening environmental laws on behalf of hundreds of organizations and communities.
Impact Summary from the Nonprofit
Earthjustice fights for the right of all to a healthy environment. As the premier nonprofit environmental law organization, we take on the biggest, most precedent-setting cases across the country. We wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health; to preserve magnificent places and wildlife; to advance clean energy; and to combat climate change. We partner with thousands of groups, supporters and citizens to take on the critical environmental issues of our time, and bring about positive change. We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.
When big industries—such as mining, timber, oil and gas—pollute and exploit the earth, we find a way to stop them. When government agencies ignore or undermine environmental statutes, we compel them to uphold the law. And we induce lawmakers to strengthen regulations that protect air, water, wildlife, and wild lands.
Earthjustice has racked up an impressive list of groundbreaking victories. Our first case, which went all the way to the US Supreme Court, affirmed the right of citizens to take their environmental grievances to court and stopped construction of a resort in the pristine Mineral King Valley in northern California. In 2009, Congress designated Mineral King Valley as part of the national Wilderness Protection System. Also in the Supreme Court, we helped compel the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider its refusal to regulate CO emissions from motor vehicles. Earthjustice is responsible for protecting more endangered species than any other environmental organization. In the 1990s, we reduced logging on Northwest national forests by 80%, a trend that continues to this day. These and hundreds more victories have protected the environment for future generations.
Mr. Donnell "Trip" Van Noppen
Donnell "Trip" Van Noppen serves Earthjustice as its President, leading the organization's staff, board, and supporters to advance its mission of using the courts to protect our environment and people's health. Trip has degrees from Yale and the University of North Carolina, and he clerked for a federal district judge. He then practiced law in Raleigh, NC, in a litigation practice emphasizing civil rights, employment, environmental, and toxic tort cases. In 1998, he joined the Southern Environmental Law Center and became director of its Carolinas Office. Both in private practice and at SELC, Trip handled a wide variety of environmental cases and cases involving access to the courts. From 2005 - 2007, Trip was Earthjustice's Vice President for Litigation.
We do this work—and chances are you support it—because we’re all optimists. We know we can make a difference and each day we do. So much can be accomplished when we work together.
In the past year alone, we advanced protections for the environment and human health in more ways than we can describe in these few pages. Each legal victory that leads to lasting results vindicates our strategic choices regarding how best to use the power of the law to restore the earth to balance.
Earthjustice’s ability to respond effectively to the forces of imbalance depends on our partners—allied organizations, foundations, members of the media, scientists, law schools, and tens of thousands of caring individuals who generously contribute to our financial well-being. We are tremendously grateful to them all.
We are also proud of the excellence demonstrated every day by the Earthjustice staff. Their dedication and commitment inspire us every day.
As the years pass, the challenges to health and the environment change, but they never disappear. New ones crop up where old ones are resolved. And old challenges morph—over 40 years ago, we were litigating to prevent new coal-fired power plants from despoiling the pristine air of the desert southwest. Today, we’re litigating to prevent those power plants from doing further damage to our climate.
We heartened by past achievements, motivated by future challenges, and optimistic about what our next 40 years will bring. It all adds up to a legacy of justice on earth, for this and future generations.
Trip Van Noppen, President and Executive Director
Board of Directors
Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation
- Population Served:
Earthjustice works in nine regional offices around the country to protect the environment by enforcing the law. Our offices are working together to combat the causes of global warming, including challenging some of the dirtiest existing and proposed coal-fired power plants and encouraging action on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Offices also focus on local issues aimed at protecting public lands, forests, and wildlife, and defending everone's right to clean air and water. In Alaska, we are working to protect the nation's largest temperate rainforest, the Tongass National Forest. In the Pacific Northwest, our efforts are focused on restoring the runs of wild salmon and steelhead on the Columbia and Snake Rivers and throughout the region. In California, our staff is working to protect Sierra Nevada wild lands and ensure public health in the Central Valley by enforcing the Clean Air Act. In Hawaii we work with native Hawaiian communities to protect endangered species and water resources, and to protect the food supply from the impacts of GMOs. In Florida, we are pushing for a sane state water policy, and public access to the state's waterways. Our two Rocky Mountain offices -- one in Colorado, the other in Montana -- are working to protect endangered species, including grizzly bears and the habitat upon which they depend, and stop fire sale oil and gas leasing of our public lands. Our Washington DC office is leading the effort to clean up air pollution on behalf of the thousands of Americans at risk of developing asthma due to smog and air pollution. And finally, our international program works with attorneys throughout the Americas and the world, building cross-national support for a better, healthier, environment.
Program Long-Term Success:
We are helping to win the fight against global warming: successfully challenging permits for the largest and dirtiest proposed coal-fired power plants; overturning the EPA's refusal to regulate greenhouse gas emmissions from automobiles; convincing the Inter-American Conference on Human Rights to hear a challenge against the US government for global warming's impacts on the Inuit population; and blocking permits for mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia, an environmentally destructive practice that threatens the health of local communities and deflates the cost of coal.
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Expert Reviews and Comments
Evidence of Impact
Earthjustice has made a large impact on climate change through their work in pushing policy and regulation toward progressive goals. They focus on a litigation strategy to support this work, which is helpful in pushing the needle forward on the sectors' most high-impact cases. Their work has been instrumental in limiting carbon output in the Arctic, and helping decrease the United States' long-term dependence on coal.
Earthjustice has a strong command of the legal and policy arena, which helps the organization carry out an effective strategy and enjoy a strong position in federal policy. The organization also has well respected leadership. Their marketing abilities are an asset as well.
Areas for Improvement
Experts would like to see Earthjustice do more of the work that makes them so effective. One expert would like to see the organization have a stronger policy presence in Washington, D.C. Another expert has suggested that the organization should work on growing their capacity to handle more regional issues, in addition to their national work.