Thursday, July 2, 2009

Earthjustice, Juneau, Alaska

By Christopher Peloso

I’m spending my summer up here in Alaska working for Earthjustice. It’s a non-profit law firm that provides legal services to environmental groups. The office up here in Juneau does a lot of work with timber, oil, and mining issues, all over Alaska, but mainly with the Tongass National Forest. Right now I’m working on some Clean Air Act issues with offshore drilling off the northern coast. They’ve got some really solid attorneys here, and they do very important work. For example, we just argued a case in the Alaska Supreme Court a few weeks ago with regards to a toxic mining wastes and the Clean Water Act. Earthjustice has all the benefits of working for a law firm, but you can help save the environment instead of protecting polluters.

They say it rains a lot in Juneau, but in the first two weeks I was here it didn’t rain a drop. The attorneys keep telling me to leave early and take advantage of the sun to go hiking or kayaking (another advantage of working here as opposed to a stuffy DC law firm). The climate here in Juneau is a lot more like Seattle than what most people would think of as Alaska. Plenty of outdoor activities here, pretty much everyone here owns a kayak and hiking boots.

Juneau is a pretty small town, but the people are very friendly and the views are incredible. It’s right at the base of some mountains, and also on the shore of an inlet that leads to the Pacific Ocean. Bears, whales, seals, and bald eagles are all over the place here and you can’t go more than a few days without seeing one in your backyard (although I’d prefer to not see them so close up!). The interns from all the environmental groups here in town (Oceana, SEACC, etc.) get together for activities on weekends. I think next weekend we are going to go kayaking in Glacier Bay.

1 comment:

Chris Peloso said...

Actually, this should say that it was a US Supreme Court case that we argued, not an AK Supreme Court case. (Coeur Alaska, Inc. v. Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (

Unfortunately, we lost, but there is still a chance that the issue can get fixed in legislation. Write your congressman about it here:


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