In 1970, NRDC became America’s first litigation-focused nonprofit dedicated to making dirty industries clean up their pollution. Since then, our attorneys have been at the forefront of protecting our nation’s air, land, water, and wildlife. In 2006, we established a specialized team of litigating attorneys to bolster our trial expertise and target opportunities where courtroom pressure can have the biggest impact. These areas include environmental justice, air and water pollution, public health, and marine mammal protection. The litigation team now includes lawyers and paralegals in New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Chicago.
We take on powerful companies—from giant oil corporations to mining conglomerates—when they contaminate the air or dump toxic waste. And we help to assure justice to people living next door to dangerous pollution. We develop novel cases and train new generations of lawyers in all aspects of litigation. In the spirit of transparency, we protect and expand public access to the courts and government records. And we collaborate closely with policy experts and scientists to determine how litigation can assist broader advocacy campaigns, such as removing antibiotics from livestock feed or preventing oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.
Litigation at NRDC
- Joining forces with nontraditional allies to broaden the definition of an environmental law case, including advocating on behalf of prison inmates exposed to toxic pollution, helping workers protect themselves against unsafe conditions, and protecting public housing residents from mold
- Strengthening public access to the courts on food and agriculture issues, especially through lawsuits on antibiotics in animal feed and other hazards
- Building on our courtroom accomplishments through any kind of litigation, on any issue, including trials that require intensive fact and expert discovery
A landmark class-action lawsuit settlement has 400,000 New York City public housing residents breathing easier.
Each year, NRDC hires third-year law school students and recent graduates who are committed to justice and interested in building litigation skills.
Conserving the Tongass means preserving the climate, Native ways of life, and ecosystems that are crucial to the local economy.
The Trump administration’s illegal replacement of the Clean Power Plan had put corporate polluters ahead of our environment and health.
The Michigan city's water was contaminated with lead—and public officials knew about it. NRDC is heading to federal court to demand justice.
An NRDC lawsuit has led to the comeback of the Golden State’s second-largest river (and its salmon).
How we got the U.S. Navy to finally agree to stop conducting harmful sonar testing in sensitive whale migration and breeding areas.
A Maine court held the former owners of a chlorine bleach plant accountable for tons of mercury it dumped into the Penobscot River over the course of four decades.
These four NRDC lawyers would finish each other’s thoughts—at any odd hour of the day or night—in their quest to help victims of the city’s lead crisis.
NRDC is working with local nonprofits on job training, bus electrificiation, solar energy, energy efficiency, and lung-health programs to help the Peoria area prepare for the closure of the E.D. Edwards coal-fired power plant.
NRDC Chief Counsel Mitch Bernard takes on big polluters, climate deniers, and their powerful allies—including those who sit in the West Wing.
Siding with NRDC and our partners, a federal court ruled that the Trump administration broke the law when it undid the Methane Waste Prevention Rule, which protects people’s health and the climate.
NRDC is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for greenlighting the use of neonics without first considering their harm to endangered species.