Earthjustice: Because the earth needs a good lawyer.
Mineral King: The Foundation of Modern Environmental Law

Connected Ecosystems

The serene beauty of a mountain lake is undeniably special, and in all the mountain wilds outside our doors, no two lakes are quite the same.

But even these refuges are suffering—from development, from wind-drifted pollution that settles invisibly in what we thought was a pristine place, from climate change. These impacts are a sign that a resource of paramount importance—fresh water—is on the line.

Earthjustice At Work, Featured Cases

Lake Protection

Protecting Waters from Mining Waste
Teshekpuk Lake, Wild and Austere
Restoring Clarity to Lake Tahoe
Protecting Florida's Lake Okeechobee
Coal Ash Wastewater Dumping
More at

In 1972, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Clean Water Act to end the use of lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands as waste dumps, which had caused many water bodies to become unfit for drinking, swimming and fishing. But in 2002, America's waters took a hard hit when the Bush administration presented a new definition for "fill material," opening the floodgates for Appalachia's coal mines to fill streams with the toxic waste created by blowing up mountains.

The wildness of Alaska's Teshekpuk Lake is an increasingly scarce resource in America's Arctic, as both federal and state governments press to develop every acre that has any oil and gas potential. The wetlands around Teshekpuk Lake are among the most important in the circumpolar Arctic, and the area is incredibly rich in birdlife. Earthjustice has worked hard to protect the unique wildlife and other resources of the Western Arctic from oil and gas development.

Situated between Nevada and California, near the crest of the Sierra Mountains, Lake Tahoe is one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the world. Today, Lake Tahoe's famed clarity has become clouded by increased human activity and urban development that has degraded the lake's air and water quality. Earthjustice and its clients are working to restore and protect the lake.

As part of our campaign to restore the Everglades, Earthjustice's Florida regional office has worked to clean up Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake wholly within the United States. The lake, which once supplied clean water to the Everglades, is polluted by runoff from cattle ranches and dairy farms.

Earthjustice is challenging a water permit that allows the Tennessee Valley Authority to dump more than 20 million gallons of contaminated coal ash wastewater into Kentucky Lake every day. According to the EPA, wastewater discharged from coal ash ponds is high in dissolved metals such as arsenic, mercury, hexavalent chromium and selenium. TVA has never invested in effective pollution controls to prevent water pollution at its Johnsonville Fossil Plant, which was constructed in 1948.

… And More: Visit our website to learn about the diversity and breadth of Earthjustice's work to protect lakes across the country:

See Also:

Photo Gallery

See a collection of photos of Mineral King valley taken during the summer months of the year.

Photo of Marmot. > View Photos

Hell Trail to Paradise

Read the behind-the-scenes story of the journey to gather the video and photo materials for this website.

Sam stocks up on water at the last stream they would see before heading up to the impassable summit. This river cut right through the rocky slopes that it scrambled down. It was a perfect high alpine stream.. > Get Behind the Scenes

By The Numbers

Eight quick facts on Mineral King Valley, its history, and the legal work that saved it.

A cairn (man-made rock pile used to mark trails in the backcountry) designates the top of Sawtooth Pass.. > See Facts
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