List of environmental lawsuits

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On this page, environmental lawsuit means "a lawsuit where the well-being of an environmental asset or the well-being of a set of environmental assets is in dispute". Also on this page, lawsuit with environmental relevance means "a lawsuit where a non-environmental entity or a set of non-environmental entities is in dispute, but whose outcome has relevance for an environmental asset or for a set of environmental assets".

Because the distinction between the two types of lawsuit is not clearly defined, it is beneficial to keep the two lists together on one page, but separated according to that distinction.

Environmental lawsuits[edit]

Lawsuit(s) Environmental asset(s)
and subject(s) of lawsuit(s)
Court(s) of decision(s) Year(s) of decision(s)
A-G v Geothermal Produce General environment: pollution from pesticide spray Court of Appeal of New Zealand 1987
Alaska Dept. of Environmental Conservation v. EPA Air: authority to overrule state decisions about technology Supreme Court of the United States 2004
Aldred's Case Aesthetics: smell from pig sty 1610
Allison, et al. v. ExxonMobil Corp, et al. Land and aquifers: gasoline leak from service station 2009
Amchem Products Inc. v. British Columbia (Workers' Compensation Board) Workplace: asbestos Supreme Court of Canada 1993
American Electric Power Company v. Connecticut Climate: greenhouse gas emissions Supreme Court of the United States 2011
Anderson v. Cryovac Water: toxic contamination
Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. General environment: production and disposal of nuclear fuel Supreme Court of the United States 1983
Bates v. Dow Agrosciences LLC Crop of peanuts: damage by pesticide Supreme Court of the United States 2005
Boomer v. Atlantic Cement Co. Aesthetics: dirt, smoke, and vibration New York Court of Appeals 1970
Burmah Oil Co. v Lord Advocate Oil fields: destruction during World War II Courts of Scotland 1965
Cardwell v. American Bridge Co. Waterways: common highways Supreme Court of the United States 1885
Castlemaine Tooheys Ltd v South Australia Recycling: bottle deposit High Court of Australia 1990
Central Green Co. v. United States Land: meaning of "flood or flood waters" Supreme Court of the United States 2001
Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. Hunt Cleanliness: interstate importation fee for disposal of hazardous waste Supreme Court of the United States 1992
Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. Air: emissions from new equipment and total emissions from plant Supreme Court of the United States 1984
Citizens to Preserve Overton Park v. Volpe Parkland: highway routing Supreme Court of the United States 1971
City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey Cleanliness: interstate importation of waste Supreme Court of the United States 1978
Climate change litigation and the California Environmental Quality Act General environment: climate change
Cline v. American Aggregates Corporation Water in aquifer: pollution Supreme Court of Ohio 1984
Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Water: gold mine waste disposal in Lower Slate Lake Supreme Court of the United States 2009
Colorado River Water Conservation District v. United States Water: supply Supreme Court of the United States 1976
Commonwealth v Tasmania Water: hydroelectric dam on Gordon River High Court of Australia 1983
Compagnie Francaise de Navigation a Vapeur v. Louisiana Board of Health General environment: quarantine Supreme Court of the United States 1902
Department of Transportation v. Public Citizen Air: pollution from international transport Supreme Court of the United States 2004
Dolan v. City of Tigard Land: paving a parking lot, and providing a greenway and a pedestrian and bicycle pathway Supreme Court of the United States 1994
Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Environmental Study Group Workplace: nuclear accidents Supreme Court of the United States 1978
Edwards v National Coal Board Land: preventing accidental rock fall in coal mine 1949
Entergy v. Riverkeeper Water: cooling water intakes for power plants Supreme Court of the United States 2009
Environment Agency v Clark Land: compliance with landfill licence terms
Environmental Defense v. Duke Energy Corporation Air: emissions in relation to modifications to power plants Supreme Court of the United States 2007
Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker Water and land: compensation for victims of oil spill Supreme Court of the United States 2008
Federal Power Commission v. Tuscarora Indian Nation Water: hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls Supreme Court of the United States 1960
Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. Water: industrial pollution of North Tyger River Supreme Court of the United States 2000
Gade v. National Solid Wastes Management Association Workplace: hazardous waste materials Supreme Court of the United States 1992
Geer v. Connecticut Wildlife: interstate transportation of wild fowl Supreme Court of the United States 1896
Gillingham Borough Council v Medway (Chatham) Dock Co Ltd Soundscape: noise pollution High Court of Justice 1992
Hadacheck v. Sebastian Aesthetics: pollution from manufacture of clay bricks Supreme Court of the United States 1915
Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) Forests: duty to consult Aboriginal groups before exploiting resources Supreme Court of Canada 2004
Stephanie Hallowich, H/W, v. Range Resources Corporation General environment: pollution from hydraulic fracturing Court of Common Pleas of Washington County, Pennsylvania (Civil Division) 2011
Hanousek v. United States Water and land: oil spill from ruptured pipeline United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 1999
Hornbeck Offshore Services LLC v. Salazar Water: offshore drilling United States federal courts ongoing
Hughes v. Oklahoma Wildlife: federal legislation Supreme Court of the United States 1979
Illinois Central Railroad v. Illinois Submerged land: construction by railroad company Supreme Court of the United States 1892
Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad Co. v. American Cyanamid Co. Land and water: acrylonitrile spilled from train United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit 1990
Industrial Union Department v. American Petroleum Institute Workplace: exposure to benzene Supreme Court of the United States 1980
Interprovincial Cooperatives v. The Queen Water: interprovincial river pollution Supreme Court of Canada 1975
Kansas v. Colorado Supreme Court of the United States 1902, 1907, 1943, 1995, 2001, 2004, 2009
Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation Climate: destruction of a community by climate change United States federal courts 2009
Kleppe v. New Mexico Wildlife: horses and burros Supreme Court of the United States 1976
Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District Wetlands: development and mitigation Supreme Court of the United States 2013
Kruger and al. v. The Queen Wildlife: hunting of deer by Aboriginals out of season Supreme Court of Canada 1978
Kvikk case Electromagnetic radiation: congenital disorders
Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. NRDC Water: pollution from stormwater Supreme Court of the United States 2013
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council Coastland: erecting homes Supreme Court of the United States 1992
Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife Wildlife: geographical limits of a section of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 Supreme Court of the United States 1992
Lyng v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Protective Association Forests: road building and timber harvesting Supreme Court of the United States 1988
M. C. Mehta v. Kamal Nath Water and land: land encroachment causing swelling of Beas River and washing away of land Supreme Court of India 1997
M. C. Mehta v. Union of India Air: pollution causing a hazard to community of Delhi Supreme Court of India
Maine v. Taylor Fisheries: interstate importation of fish Supreme Court of the United States 1986
Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency Air: regulation of greenhouse gases Supreme Court of the United States 2007
McCastle v. Rollins Environmental Services General environment: disposal of hazardous waste 1987
McLaren v. Caldwell Waterways: common highways Judicial Committee of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom 1884
Metropolitan Edison Co. v. People Against Nuclear Energy General environment: restarting reactor Supreme Court of the United States 1983
Missouri v. Holland Wildlife: hunting migratory waterfowl Supreme Court of the United States 1920
Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway Company of Texas v. Clay May Land: weed propagation Supreme Court of the United States 1904
Monsanto Canada Inc. v. Schmeiser Farmland: deliberate propagation of canola contaminated by genetically modified organisms Supreme Court of Canada 2004
Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms Farmland: genetically modified alfalfa Supreme Court of the United States 2010
Montreal (City) v. 2952-1366 Québec Inc. Soundscape: invasive music Supreme Court of Canada 2005
Morrison v. Olson Land: Superfund law regarding hazardous waste Supreme Court of the United States 1988
National Assn. of Home Builders v. Defenders of Wildlife Water and wildlife: granting state authority over anti-pollution statutes Supreme Court of the United States 2007
National Audubon Society v. Superior Court Water: supply from Mono Lake Supreme Court of California 1983
New Jersey v. Delaware Water: liquefied natural gas pipeline Supreme Court of the United States 2008
New York v. United States General environment: disposal of radioactive waste Supreme Court of the United States 1992
Newfoundland and Labrador v. AbitibiBowater Inc. Land: remediation of expropriated mill property Supreme Court of Canada 2012
Nollan v. California Coastal Commission Coastland: erecting a house, and providing a public greenway and a bicycle path Supreme Court of the United States 1987
Norton v. S. Utah Wilderness Alliance Wilderness: preservation Supreme Court of the United States 2004
Nulyarimma v Thompson Water: mining company draining Lake Eyre Federal Court of Australia 1999
Operation Dismantle v. The Queen General environment: military tests increasing risk or nuclear war Supreme Court of Canada 1985
Oregon Waste Systems, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Quality of Oregon Cleanliness: interstate disposal of waste Supreme Court of the United States 1994
Overseas Hibakusha Case Electromagnetic radiation at natural levels: health-care benefits for hibakusha Supreme Court of Japan 1957, 1968, 1974, 1978, 1995, 2003, 2005
Palazzolo v. Rhode Island Wetlands: development Supreme Court of the United States 2001
Palila v. Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Wildlife: introduced species (goats and sheep) United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 1981
Partridge v Crittenden Wildlife: advertising brambling cocks and hens Queen's Bench Division of the High Court of England and Wales 1968
People v. the Brooklyn Cooperage Company Forests: logging in Adirondack Park New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division 1906
R v Stephens Water: quarry refuse dumped into river
R (Jackson) v Attorney General Wildlife: hunting foxes and hares House of Lords of the United Kingdom 2005, 2006
R. v. Badger Wildlife: hunting by Aboriginals on private land Supreme Court of Canada 1996
R. v. City of Sault Ste-Marie Water: locating a waste disposal site near a stream Supreme Court of Canada 1978
R. v. Crown Zellerbach Canada Ltd. Water: ocean dumping Supreme Court of Canada 1988
R. v. Hydro-Québec Water: dumping polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the St. Maurice River Supreme Court of Canada 1997
R. v. Jim Wildlife: hunting by Aboriginals on Indian reserves British Columbia Supreme Court 1915
R. v. Van der Peet Fisheries: Aboriginal fishing rights extending to selling Supreme Court of Canada 1996
Rapanos v. United States Wetlands: filling with sand Supreme Court of the United States 2006
Rio Grande Silvery Minnow v. Bureau of Reclamation Wildlife: irrigation damaging endangered species U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals 2010
Rylands v Fletcher Water and land: reservoir flooding adjacent land House of Lords of the United Kingdom 1868
Ryuichi Shimoda v. The State General environment: atomic bombs damaging Hiroshima and Nagasaki District Court of Tokyo 1963
S. D. Warren Co. v. Maine Board of Environmental Protection Water: hydroelectric dams discharging into Presumpscot River Supreme Court of the United States 2006
Save the Plastic Bag Coalition v. The City of Manhattan Beach General environment: plastic bags Supreme Court of California 2011
Scenic Hudson Preservation Conference v. Federal Power Commission Aesthetics and conservation: construction of power plant United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit 1965
Sierra Club v. Babbitt Endangered species: high-density housing United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama 1998
Sierra Club v. Morton Parkland: development Supreme Court of the United States 1972
Slaughter-House Cases Water: slaughterhouse waste Supreme Court of the United States 1873
Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Cty. v. Army Corps of Engineers Water: waste disposal Supreme Court of the United States 2001
Sporhase v. Nebraska ex rel. Douglas Water: exportation of water Supreme Court of the United States 1982
St. Louis v. Myers Water: rights of landowners beside Mississippi River Supreme Court of the United States 1885
Sterling v. Velsicol Chemical Corp Water: disposal of waste from insecticide production United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit 1986, 1988
Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection Beaches: beach renourishment Supreme Court of the United States 2010
Summers v. Earth Island Institute Forests: sale of fire-damaged timber Supreme Court of the United States 2009
Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council, Inc. v. Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Water: supply from Lake Tahoe Basin Supreme Court of the United States 2002
Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill Habitat: destruction by hydroelectric dams Supreme Court of the United States 1978
Tri-state water dispute Water: supply from Lake Lanier undecided
Tuna-Dolphin GATT Case (I and II) Marine biology: seine fishing Panel of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and World Trade Organization
United Haulers Assn. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Mgmt. Auth. Cleanliness: interstate exportation of waste Supreme Court of the United States 2007
United States v. 50 Acres of Land Land: compensation for replacing condemned landfill Supreme Court of the United States 1984
United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins Fisheries: shark finning United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit 2008
United States v. Bestfoods Land: pollution from chemical manufacturing plant Supreme Court of the United States 1998
United States v. Dion Wildlife: American Indians hunting eagles Supreme Court of the United States 1986
United States v. Locke Water: regulation of maritime activity Supreme Court of the United States 2000
United States v. Riverside Bayview Wetlands: placement of fill materials Supreme Court of the United States 1985
United States v. SCRAP Recycling: railroad freight rate Supreme Court of the United States 1973
United States v. Weitzenhoff Water: ocean dumping Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals 1993
United States v. Winans Fisheries: Americans using a fish wheel to catch salmon Supreme Court of the United States 1905
Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency Air: regulation of greenhouse gas emissions United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia 2012
Vatican Radio lawsuit Electromagnetic radiation: health effects from non-ionizing radiation
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. General environment: rulemaking, and environmental effects of the uranium fuel cycle Supreme Court of the United States 1978
Verstappen v Port Edward Town Board General environment: waste disposal Durban and Coast Local Division 1993
Ward v. Canada (Attorney General) Fishing and hunting: catching seals and selling their pelts Supreme Court of Canada 2002
Wheeler v Saunders Ltd Aesthetics: smell from pig houses Court of Appeal of England and Wales 1994
Whitman v. American Trucking Associations, Inc. Air: ozone and particulate matter Supreme Court of the United States 2001
Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council Biophony: navy sonar harming whales and other marine mammals Supreme Court of the United States 2008
Winters v. United States Water: rights of American Indians Supreme Court of the United States 1908
Wisconsin v. Illinois Water: supply from the Great Lakes Supreme Court of the United States 1929
Wyoming v. Colorado Water: supply from Laramie River Supreme Court of the United States 1922
Yorta Yorta v Victoria Land and water: rights of natives Federal Court of Australia 1998

Lawsuits with environmental relevance[edit]

Lawsuit(s) Environmental asset(s)
and subject(s) of lawsuit(s)
Court(s) of decision(s) Year(s) of decision(s)
Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. (United Kingdom v. Iran) Oil fields: licence to extract oil International Court of Justice of the United Nations, based in The Hague, Netherlands 1952
Arizona v. California Water: supply from Colorado River Supreme Court of the United States 1931, 1934, 1936, 1963, 1964, 1968, 1979, 1983, 1984, 2000 and 2006
Babbitt v. Sweet Home Chapter of Communities for a Great Oregon Wildlife: interpretation of law protecting fish and wildlife Supreme Court of the United States 1995
Baldwin v. Fish and Game Commission of Montana Wildlife: elk hunting Supreme Court of the United States 1978
Bamford v Turnley Aesthetics: smoke from brick kiln 1860
BG Checo International Ltd. v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority Electromagnetic fields: terms regarding clearing of land Supreme Court of Canada 1993
Bowman v. Monsanto Co. Seeds: patent exhaustion Supreme Court of the United States 2013
Bowoto v. Chevron Corp. Oil fields (offshore): injuries and human rights violations United States District Court for the Northern District of California 2008
Burford v. Sun Oil Co. Oil fields: complex geology and multiple users Supreme Court of the United States 1943
C&A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown, New York Recycling: interstate exportation restriction Supreme Court of the United States 1994
Carter v. Carter Coal Co. Land: regulating the coal mining industry Supreme Court of the United States 1936
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett Workplace: asbestos exposure Supreme Court of the United States 1986
Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. United States EPA General environment: hazardous waste (disposal and reporting) 1992
Chilean–Peruvian maritime dispute Water: sea border between Chile and Peru International Court of Justice of the United Nations, based in The Hague, Netherlands unresolved
Department of the Interior v. Klamath Water Users Protective Association Water: federal legislation Supreme Court of the United States 2001
Diamond v. Chakrabarty Genetics and water: patent for GMO for cleaning oil spills Supreme Court of the United States 1980
Dimmock v Secretary of State for Education and Skills Climate: providing documentary An Inconvenient Truth (about climate change) to English state schools High Court of Justice of England and Wales 2007
English v. General Electric Workplace: work table contaminated with uranium Supreme Court of the United States 1990
Farley v Skinner Soundscape: aircraft noise House of Lords of the United Kingdom 2001
Funk Brothers Seed Co. v. Kalo Inoculant Co. Leguminous plants: patent for product for promoting nitrogen fixation Supreme Court of the United States 1948
Georgia v. South Carolina (1990) Water: interstate boundary Supreme Court of the United States 1990
Hunt v. T&N plc Workplace: asbestos exposure Supreme Court of Canada 1993
Keystone Bituminous Coal Ass'n v. DeBenedictis Land: coal mining causing damage to buildings, etc. Supreme Court of the United States 1987
McLibel case Water and rainforests: waste and destruction, respectively European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France 2005
Minister of Public Works v Kyalami Ridge Environmental Association Conservation: housing for flood victims Constitutional Court of South Africa 2001
Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians Wildlife: hunting, fishing, and gathering rights Supreme Court of the United States 1999
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission General environment: disposal of radioactive waste from nuclear reactors Supreme Court of the United States 1983
Peevyhouse v. Garland Coal & Mining Co. Land: restoration after coal mining Supreme Court of Oklahoma 1962
Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon Land: coal mining under a habitation Supreme Court of the United States 1922
People of the State of California v. Federal Housing Finance Agency General environment: energy-related property improvements United States District Court for the Northern District of California
R. v. Marshall Fisheries: right of Aboriginals to catch and sell eels Supreme Court of Canada 1999
RJW & SJW v The Guardian newspaper & Person or Persons Unknown Environment of Ivory Coast: publishing toxic waste dumping 2009
Rindge Co. v. County of Los Angeles Land: expropriation for highway Supreme Court of the United States 1923
Transco plc v Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council Land: water pipe leaking and washing away land 2003
United States v. Causby Biophony and scotobiology: aircraft flying low Supreme Court of the United States 1946
United States v. Louisiana (1965) Natural resources: entitlement to Gulf of Mexico seabed Supreme Court of the United States 1965
United States v. Shoshone Tribe of Indians Land: mineral and timber rights Supreme Court of the United States 1938
United States v. The Progressive General environment: publishing the "secret" of the hydrogen bomb 1979
Vaughan v Menlove General environment: spontaneous ignition of hay, causing fire to spread to adjacent land 1837
Village of Schaumburg v. Citizens for a Better Environment Environmental protection: door-to-door solicitation Supreme Court of the United States 1980
Wik Peoples v Queensland Land: removal of land from Aboriginal reserve for bauxite mining High Court of Australia 1996
Willson v. Black-Bird Creek Marsh Co. Water: sailboat breaking through a dam Supreme Court of the United States 1829
Wiwa v. Royal Dutch Shell Co. Oil fields: human rights abuses United States District Court for the Southern District of New York 2009
Yarmirr v Northern Territory Water: native title to seas, sea-bed and sub-soil Federal Court of Australia 2001

See also[edit]

Environment courts[edit]

Other related topics[edit]

External links[edit]