GREENFIRE LAW, PC

Greenfire Law blocks Mendocino County Air Quality Management District’s efforts to evade judicial review

06.27.2017
The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District and Grist Creek Aggregates (which holds two Air District permits for an asphalt plant near Willits on the banks of Outlet Creek) asserted that citizens have no right under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) to directly challenge a failure to consider the environmental impacts of permits issued by air districts. The Court of Appeal held unequivocally that CEQA does provide concerned citizens the right to sue. In a second case involving the same asphalt plant, the Court of Appeals blocked the lower court’s dismissal of Friends’ case and explained why an earlier case, Lopez v. Imperial County Sheriff’s Office (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1, does not hold that “a tie vote of an administrative agency results in no action” in all circumstances. The Mendocino County Air Quality Management District’s Hearing Board had argued that its inability to reach a decision on Friends’ administrative challenge because of a tie vote of its members meant that the Hearing Board had failed to take any action that could be reviewed by a court.  Friends argued that the Air District’s argument would insulate agency actions from judicial review—perhaps indefinitely—even while polluting activities continued. The Court put the Air Board’s argument to rest, clarifying that the Lopez case and other cases cited by the Hearing Board were about remedies, not access to the court. Friends will get its day in court. Both opinions are slated for publication.  

Forest Service releases additional documents in response to Story of Stuff FOIA lawsuit

05.10.2016
In 2015, Greenfire Law helped Story of Stuff administratively appeal the Forest Service's failure to release documents regarding Nestle's diversion of water from the San Bernardino National Forest as required by the Freedom of Information Act. Because the response following that appeal was still insufficient, Greenfire Law sued on Story of Stuff's behalf.  In April 2016, an additional 1200 documents, initially withheld, were released to Story of Stuff. These newly released documents are directly on issue regarding the Forest Service's mismanagement of Nestle's special use permit on the San Bernardino National Forest. Story of Stuff and Courage Campaign plan to use these documents to educate the public regarding the impacts of water diversion to our public lands.
   

Ban on Microbead Plastics Signed into Law

04.15.2016
Recently, advocates for healthier oceans and other marine ecosystems notched a major victory in the US Congress. On December 28, 2015, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 was signed into law, effectuating a prohibition against the sale or distribution of cosmetic products like soaps and shampoos that contain intentionally-added plastic microbeads. The prohibition on manufacturing of such products begins on July 1, 2017, and the prohibition on introducing such products into interstate commerce begins on July 1, 2018. This victory comes on the heels of recent success in California where Greenfire Law client, the 5 Gyres Institute, along with Greenfire itself, helped draft the Plastic Microbeads Nuisance Prevention Law, which came into affect on October 8, 2015.

Greenfire Clients Fight to Save Natural Area in Heart of St. Lucie, Florida

The Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County and Indian Riverkeeper, two nonprofit associations dedicated to environmental protection represented by Greenfire Law and Hartsell Law of Winter Haven, Florida, recently filed their opening brief in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to continue their efforts to block the Federal Highway Administration’s (“FHWA”) approval of construction a six-lane highway and bridge through two ecologically-sensitive nature preserves in southeast Florida. The Savannas Preserve State Park and the North Fork of the Saint Lucie River Aquatic Preserve are among the few remaining expanses of natural habitat within a highly urbanized region. In the cases of certain species, like mangroves, construction of a bridge through these nature preserves would decimate those species’ only remaining habitat in the area. Both of these nature preserves also protect from urbanization the greater ecosystem services provided by the St. Lucie River and the extensive river and estuarine habitat in the area. The Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie and Indian Riverkeeper seek to show the appellate court that the FHWA should have chosen an available alternative highway route that would not impact these critical public resources while still addressing traffic needs.

Greenfire Client HUMMAP Challenges New Humboldt Marijuana Land Use Ordinance

03.15.2016
On February 26, 2016, the Humboldt-Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project (the "Advocacy Project"), represented by Greenfire Law, filed a complaint against the County of Humboldt and the County's Board of Supervisors. The complaint asserts that the County approved its novel Commercial Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance without adequately analyzing and mitigating the significant adverse environmental impacts associated with implementing this new ordinance. The Advocacy Project's members have continually advocated since its founding in 2010 for an ecologically conscious future for the marijuana industry in Northern California, which, along with the rural character of Humboldt County, is presently threatened by the industrialization of cultivation of marijuana. Accordingly, the Advocacy Project is pursuing litigation against Humboldt County under the California Environmental Quality Act to ensure that the County and its Board of Supervisors fully consider the environmental impacts that industrial-scale marijuana cultivation will have on the surrounding environment, as well as other industries that rely on healthy and sustainable ecosystems.

Greenfire Clients Enforcing Plastic Pollution Requirements

03.27.2015
The Guardian highlights the work of Greenfire Law clients in enforcing the US Clean Water Act to prevent and control for plastic pollution in California.
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Greenfire Law Attorney Published in Tulane Environmental Law Journal

05.12.2014
Tulane Law School has published the first law journal to be entirely dedicated to the legal issues surrounding plastic pollution, and a Greenfire Law attorney penned one of the articles.
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Microplastics in Personal Care Products a Menace to Water Treatment

02.19.2014
Rachel Doughty will speak on a panel on February 22 at Tulane Law School’s 19th Annual Summit on Environmental Law and Policy regarding legislation she recently drafted for client 5 Gyres, and which will be the subject of an article to be published in an upcoming issue of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal focused on the issue of Plastic Pollution. Legislation to ban microplastics in consumer personal care products designed to be washed into public sewers has been introduced in both New York and California. The bills were the subject of recent articles in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.

Settlement Will Protect Endangered Woodpeckers on Mississippi’s Noxubee Wildlife Refuge

01.29.2013
Two conservation groups and a long-time volunteer represented by Greenfire Law and the Center for Biological Diversity have reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that will lead to better protection for endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers on Mississippi’s Noxubee Wildlife Refuge.
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U.S. Forest Service Grants Stay of Plan to Allow Boating on the Upper Chattooga Wild and Scenic River and Through the Ellicott Rock Wilderness

03.27.2012
Today the U.S. Forest Service granted a stay, halting the Forest Service's plans to permit boating on 17 miles of the Wild and Scenic Upper Chattooga River this season.
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