Washington State Dairies Agree to Implement Sweeping Changes Following
Landmark Lawsuit Over Water Supply Contamination
Four Washington State dairies have agreed to implement sweeping changes in their operations following a series of lawsuits brought by the Community Association for Restoration of the Environment (CARE) and Center for Food Safety against the dairies alleging that their mismanagement of manure contaminated water supplies in the Lower Yakima Valley, Washington. The settlements follow a January ruling against Cow Palace, one of the four dairies, finding that the millions of gallons of manure it stored in unlined lagoons and dumped onto crop fields contaminated the soil and aquifer below. Under the terms of the settlements, the dairies will provide clean drinking water to a large number of residents with polluted water and drastically change their operations in ways intended to stop future contamination to the area’s water supply to protect public health and the environment. “This settlement takes the animal factory industry from the Dark Ages into the Age of Enlightenment, while providing important relief to the impacted community,” said Charlie Tebbutt, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. “The industry must still evolve to a higher level of consciousness and this settlement provides a huge improvement in daily operations. State and federal agencies must now use this settlement as a stepping stone toward providing permanent solutions for protecting human health and the environment from an industry that is causing severe pollution nationwide.”
Read the Press Release . . .
Read the Settlements . . .
Court Denies Cow Palace's Motion Seeking Appeal
Shortly after the landmark decision (see below) finding that manure from industrial dairies when mishandled is a solid waste causing an immediate threat to human health, Cow Palace filed for leave to appeal the ruling. The Court denied the motion stating "[T]his Court finds the public interest in addressing current levels of contamination and minimizing any further risk of harm immeasurably outweighs any argument in favor of staying these proceedings pending appeal. As this Court determined in its previous Order, the Dairy’s operations may currently be presenting an imminent and substantial endangerment to the nearby residents who are consuming the nitrate-contaminated groundwater. Any delay in these proceedings only increases the already-present risk to the public health."
Read the Order . . .
Court Finds Animal Factory Causing Immediate Public Health Threat
This decision is the first of its kind in the country that finds that manure from industrial dairies when mishandled, as it is at Cow Palace, is a solid waste that is causing an immediate threat to human health. This facility is no different from the thousands of other animal factories across the country that are causing the same harms to the people around them. It is long past time for local, state and federal health protectors to take up the mantle and protect human health over corporate profits.
Read the Decision on Summary Judgment . . . Read the Order Unsealing Records . . .
Court Denies BNSF's Motion to Dismiss for the Second Time.
Western District Court in Seattle joins Eastern District Court in denying BNSF's request to dismiss coal pollution case. Judge Coughenour found BNSF's arguments to be "absurd" and that they were "merely engaging in a game of semantics." The Plainitiffs' case will now proceed toward trial. A status conference to set the trial schedule is set for April 22 Read the Decision . . .
Leading International Scientists Support Youth Appellants’ Federal Climate Change Suit.
Dan Galpern, representing Dr. James Hansen and ten other prominent climate scientists from around the world recently filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief is in support of a suit brought by Our Children's Trust challenging the U.S. Government's failure to take adequate action to arrest climate change. Read the Amicus Brief . . .
Court Denies BNSF's Motion to Dismiss, Case Rolls on Towards Trial.
On January 2nd, Federal District Court Judge Lonny Suko denied BNSF's Motion to Dismiss in Sierra Club, et al., v. BNSF Railway, in the Eastern District of Washington. The decision allows trial to go forward. Read the Decision . . .
For more background information:
Northwest Public Radio, June 5, 2013 . . .
The Oregonian, April 2, 2013 . . .
Welcome to the Law Offices of Charlie Tebbutt.
Charlie and the office team are primarily environmental lawyers who assist communities, organizations, tribes, unions and individuals across the United States in protecting themselves and their members from industrial pollution and chemical injury. Through litigation, negotiation, and grassroots campaign building, the team helps clients enforce our nation’s environmental laws and hold polluters and regulatory agencies accountable.
During his career at the Western Environmental Law Center, the Atlantic States Legal Foundation, and in private practice, Charlie has brought citizen suit and toxic tort cases concerning pollution and chemical exposure against dozens of Fortune 500 companies in more than 20 states enforcing a broad spectrum of environmental laws. The firm has experience with many environmental statutes, including the Clean Water Act (CWA), Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), Clean Air Act (CAA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), Emergency Planning and Community Right To Know Act (EPCRA), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
|Recent cases include actions against the coal industry, BP and Transocean for the Gulf disaster, large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), and improper EPA actions. Charlie also represents victims of toxic chemical exposure seeking compensation for and relief from their injuries.
Charlie with John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry on
This Moment on Earth booktour.
In Charlie's words "We advocate to give voice to the people whose voices are ignored or not heard and to the natural systems that have no voice."
To inquire about legal assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 541-344-3505.