The Center for Biological Diversity is resisting Trump in every way possible — especially in the courts.
From the moment he took office, our lawyers have been working feverishly to oppose every attempt he's made to worsen climate change, kill wildlife, endanger public health and destroy public lands.
So far the Center has filed 40 suits against Trump. Read on for details.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Tropical Audubon Society, Miami Pine Rocklands Coalition and South Florida Wildlands Association sued the Trump administration for approving Coral Reef Commons, a mega-development slated for the largest privately owned tract of critically endangered pine rocklands habitat in Miami-Dade County.
The development, approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, threatens 20 endangered plants and animals, including the eastern indigo snake, gopher tortoise, Florida brickell-bush and two butterflies, the Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak and Florida leafwing. Several of these species are limited to the last few tracts of pine rocklands in South Florida, meaning the mega-development represents an imminent threat to their survival.
“This mega-development will wipe out some of South Florida’s last ecological gems and diminish quality of life for nearby residents by worsening traffic and sprawl,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Losing the Florida bonneted bat, the rare Florida leafwing butterfly or the incredibly striking Miami tiger beetle is a tragedy that can’t be undone.”
Three days after President Donald Trump issued a proclamation taking an ax to Bears Ears National Monument in southern Utah, conservation organizations filed a lawsuit attacking the order as an abuse of the president’s power.
Following in the footsteps of the American Indian tribes who have already sued the president, Earthjustice is representing nine conservation organizations in a suit charging that the president violated the 1906 Antiquities Act and the U.S. Constitution by eviscerating the monument.
The unprecedented action leaves rare archaeological sites and stunning wildlands without protection from looting, prospecting, oil and gas drilling, uranium mining or off-road vehicle damage. Bears Ears was decimated by more than 1 million acres.
Hours after Trump issued a proclamation taking an axe to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, the Center and seven ally groups filed a lawsuit attacking the order as an abuse of the president’s power. Earthjustice is representing the eight organizations in our suit charging that the president violated the 1906 Antiquities Act by stripping monument protections from this national treasure: The Wilderness Society, the Grand Canyon Trust, the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project. The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and Natural Resources Defense Council are co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit and represented by in-house counsel.
The Center sued the Environmental Protection Agency for refusing to release public records regarding Administrator Scott Pruitt’s directive that limits the agency’s ability to settle lawsuits — even when delays in resolving a case result in significant environmental harm.
The Center and other green groups filed suit in federal court challenging the Trump administration’s approval of an enormous groundwater-mining and pipeline project in Southern California. The Cadiz water project, approved without environmental review, includes the construction of a pipeline through the Mojave Trails National Monument and other public lands in the area.
The Center for Biological Diversity, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas, the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition and the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter filed a lawsuit in federal court to overturn the U.S. Forest Service’s approval of a controversial open-pit copper mine in southern Arizona’s Santa Rita Mountains. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court, says the massive Rosemont Copper Mine would violate nearly a dozen state and federal laws, threaten critical water resources and destroy Coronado National Forest land.
The Center and Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Trump administration today for allowing U.S. hunters to import elephant and lion trophies from Zimbabwe. The lawsuit aims to protect animals and resolve confusion created by the administration’s recent contradictory announcements.
The suit came days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service abruptly reversed an Obama-era ban on elephant trophy imports based on catastrophic elephant population declines. Fish and Wildlife also recently greenlighted lion trophy imports from Zimbabwe, despite the controversial killing of Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe in 2015.
The Center sued the Trump administration for refusing to release public records about its sudden termination this summer of a federal climate advisory committee. The expert committee was working in support of the next National Climate Assessment, a congressionally mandated scientific report on global warming’s threats to the United States.
The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club filed a lawsuit challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s June sale of oil and gas leases in northern Nevada. On June 14, the BLM offered nearly 200,000 acres of public lands in Nevada’s Battle Mountain district for fossil fuel development, including fracking. Today’s lawsuit argues the BLM failed to consider the potential consequences of oil drilling in the area, from contamination of critical desert water sources to emission of climate-altering greenhouse gases.
The Center and allies filed a lawsuit to overturn the Trump administration’s indefinite delay of higher penalties for new cars and trucks that do not meet minimum fuel-economy standards, with automobiles currently America’s largest source of carbon pollution. The suit, filed in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, challenges a July decision by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to suspend a 2016 rule that increased penalties for new vehicles failing to meet fuel-economy standards.
A coalition of tribal and conservation interests, including the Center, filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to restore critical protections to the Yellowstone region’s iconic grizzly bears before new threats, including hunting, push the population further into decline. The suit challenges a June 2017 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the Yellowstone-area grizzly population from the list of species protected by the Endangered Species Act, which enables the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming to move ahead with plans for trophy hunting of grizzlies.
The Center sued the Trump administration for refusing to release public records about its review of national monuments and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's emails and schedule. For months, the Interior Department had failed to respond to the Center's requests for Zinke's communication records
A federal district court in Texas granted a motion by the Center for Biological Diversity and Save Our Springs Alliance to expand an existing lawsuit to challenge the approval of an Austin highway project by the Trump administration's U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service approved the construction of the MoPac Intersections Project across the environmentally sensitive Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, even though it would risk harming the federally protected Barton Springs salamander, Austin blind salamander and golden-cheeked warbler.
The Center sued the Trump administration for failing to provide public records about closed-door meetings between the U.S. Department of the Interior and fossil-fuel industry executives over the reversal of the Obama administration's “pause” on coal extraction on federal public lands.
The Center filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its program allowing the export of tens of thousands of wild animals trapped and killed for the international fur trade. The Service's program covers five “furbearing” species, including bobcats, river otters, wolves, lynx and brown bears, representing the deaths of about 80,000 individual animals annually in recent years.
The Center sued the Trump administration under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain public records on the approval of nationwide water-quality criteria for the dangerous heavy metal cadmium that are nearly 40 percent higher than determined to be safe for endangered salmon.
The Center and other environmental nonprofits sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services program over its outdated wildlife-killing plan for Northern California.
The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court, seeks an updated environmental analysis of the program's killing of native wildlife including coyotes, bobcats and foxes.
The Center sued the Trump administration for public records of closed-door meetings between the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and industry executives over the reversal of the Obama administration's “pause” on coal extraction on federal public lands.
The Center sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for failing to provide environmental documents required for the construction of border wall “prototypes” in San Diego County.
The the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Environmental Health sued Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt for delays in reducing dangerous ozone pollution in the Sacramento area and parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The lawsuit, filed in federal district court, demands that the EPA enforce deadlines to ensure that areas violating air-quality standards have plans in place to clean up their skies.
The Center sued the Trump administration for public records of closed-door meetings between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, states and industry groups over weakening wetlands protections under the Clean Water Act.
President Trump directed the EPA to rewrite regulations determining whether wetlands are protected as “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act. Trump's executive order could potentially eliminate Clean Water Act protections for millions of acres of wetlands, which are critical to water purification, ecosystem health and habitat for hundreds of endangered species.
The Center filed suit against the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency for failing to provide briefing materials prepared for Trump's transition team that discuss construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
We requested the materials in January under the Freedom of Information Act. The documents may contain discussion of the feasibility, effectiveness or impacts of building Trump's wall. But so far the agencies have failed to provide the records.
The Center sued the Trump administration to uncover public records showing that federal employees have been censored from using words or phrases related to climate change in formal agency communications.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeks to require four federal agencies to release climate-censorship records, in compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. The Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior and Department of State have failed to provide records requested by the Center or indicate when they might do so, violating deadlines established under the law.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Thomas Bachand filed suit against the U.S. Department of State to obtain information on the route of the Keystone XL Pipeline, as well as contracts and correspondence with private consultants involved. The State Department is required to make public information about the route of the pipeline and related documents under the Freedom of Information Act.
We expanded our lawsuit a few days after filing it (on May 23), adding a new claim highlighting the proposed pipeline project's threats to critically endangered whooping cranes and other threatened species.
The Center and parter green groups filed a lawsuit in federal court today to stop the U.S. Department of Agriculture's wildlife-killing agency from shooting, trapping, and poisoning Idaho's wild animals.
In the suit, Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and Predator Defense — represented by Advocates for the West and a staff attorney at Western Watersheds Project —assert that Wildlife Services has written itself a broad, statewide authorization to kill native predators like coyotes and mountain lions, along with ravens and other animals, without taking a hard look at the impacts of its unscientific slaughter.
The Center and other conservation groups, along with Alaska Native groups, filed a lawsuit against President Trump challenging his decision to jettison a permanent ban on new offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic oceans.
“Trump's attempt to let the petroleum industry suck oil out of every last corner of our oceans is reckless and unlawful,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center. “We're taking Trump to court to stop his assault on our oceans and make sure Arctic waters and the Atlantic stay off limits to dirty, dangerous drilling.”
The Center filed suit to force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to turn over the emails and schedule of the agency's administrator, Scott Pruitt.
The Cetner and other conservation groups filed a lawsuit against EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for his failure to finalize deadlines by which the District of Columbia and Philadelphia must meet 2008 clear-air standards to control smog. Smog — also known as ground-level ozone pollution — poses serious threats to public health, wildlife and ecosystems.
The Center and environmental allies sued the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management over plans to permit fracking in Ohio's only national forest, the Wayne, aiming to void BLM leases and halt fracking in the national forest. The lawsuit charges that the agencies failed to analyze threats to public health, endangered species and the climate before auctioning off more than 670 acres of forest land for large-scale, high-volume fracking.
In the first constitutional challenge of its kind, the Center sued the Trump administration for repealing protections for wolves, bears and other wildlife on Alaska's national wildlife refuges.
The Center partnered with Arizona Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva, ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, to sue the Trump administration over the proposed border wall and other border security measures — filing the first lawsuit targeting the Trump administration's plan to vastly expand and militarize the U.S.-Mexico border.
Three months later — on July 10, 2017 — we expanded our border wall prototype lawsuit to include the proposed replacement of a 14-mile segment of the border wall.
The Center and other conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services over its carnivore-killing program in Colorado, including controversial plans to kill as many as 120 mountain lions and black bears in the state — with fully analyzing the program's environmental impacts.
The Center and three ally environmental groups sued the Trump administration for failing to protect endangered species from two deadly pesticides used to kill coyotes and other native carnivores: Compound 1080 and sodium cyanide, both used in M-44s — also known as “cyanide bombs.” Cyanide bombs had killed an Oregon wolf in February and in March temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two separate incidents in Idaho and Wyoming.
The Center, Friends of the Earth and other environmental groups sued the Trump administration for approving the controversial Keystone XL pipeline with no public input on the decision and despite the project's serious threats to air, water, wildlife and public health — a violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.
In November 2017 a federal judge ruled to allow our laswsuit to proceed, rejecting attempts by the Trump administration and TransCanada (the company behind the proposed pipeline) to have the suit thrown out.
The Center and six other conservation groups filed suit against the Trump administration over Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's order opening tens of thousands of acres of public lands to the coal industry — a day after the president's executive order rolling back protections for public health, the climate and the environment.
The Center, Earthworks and Save Our Sky Blue Waters filed suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service for their approval of the PolyMet 528-acre open-pit copper mine in Minnesota's Superior National Forest. The mine would destroy important habitat for gray wolves and Canada lynx, both protected by the Endangered Species Act.
Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, the Center for Biological Diversity and the W.J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League filed a separate suit over the PolyMet mine, in this case to overturn the Forest Service's decision to approve the largest land exchange in its history. The land exchange would give PolyMet thousands of acres of critically important wetlands in Superior National Forest, where mining operations would forever destroy the wetlands that form the headwaters of the St. Louis River.
The Center sued the Fish and Wildlife Service to end use of agricultural pesticides known to harm people and wildlife on the Tule Lake and Lower Klamath national wildlife refuges. In adopting a comprehensive conservation plan to guide management of the refuges over the next 15 years, the Service failed to consider alternatives that would reduce or eliminate use of toxic pesticides, prioritizing commercial agricultural interests over wildlife.
The Center — along with farmers, other conservation groups and food- and farm-justice organizations — sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approving Dow AgroScience's highly toxic Enlist Duo, a novel mixture of the weed-killing chemicals glyphosate and 2,4-D posing extensive risk to rural communities, food supplies and the environment.
The Center and three other environmental organizations sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Fish and Wildlife Service for authorizing the use of 50,000 acres for phosphate strip mining that would irreversibly destroy native plant and animal habitat in central Florida. The lawsuit aims to prevent mining that would threaten water quality and quantity by obliterating wetlands and habitat for animals already clinging to survival.