Trump Watch
Young plaintiffs cheer outside a federal courthouse in Eugene, Oregon. Robin Loznak

'We'll See You in Court': Kids Climate Lawsuit Moves Forward After Judge Denies Trump

A federal court rejected the Trump administration's attempt to shut down a landmark lawsuit initiated by 21 young plaintiffs suing the government for its creation of climate danger.

The three-judge panel with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco denied the White House's writ of mandamus petition filed in June, a rarely used legal maneuver that would have dismissed Juliana v. United States.

In the unanimous decision Wednesday, Chief Judge Sidney R. Thomas called the petition a "drastic and extraordinary remedy reserved for really extraordinary causes" and the Trump administration's motion did not satisfy that standard.

"The issues that the defendants raise on mandamus are better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation," Thomas wrote, thus allowing the case to move forward.

"The Ninth Circuit just gave us the green light for trial," said Julia Olson, the chief legal counsel for Our Children's Trust, the organization spearheading the lawsuit. "We will ask the district court for a trial date in 2018 where we will put the federal government's dangerous energy system and climate policies on trial for infringing the constitutional rights of young people."

Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 young people who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government's failure to take significant action on global climate change.

The Center for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental organizations that filed an amicus brief in support of the suit, celebrated the news.

"This is a huge victory for young people fighting to protect their future from climate chaos," Kassie Siegel, the director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute, said. "It should be the case that forces the government to reverse its stance on climate change and take the rapid, ambitious action we need."

The young plaintiffs are looking forward to seeing the case go to trial.

"I'm grateful that my fellow plaintiffs and I can have our voices heard, and that climate science can have its day in court," Victoria Barrett, an 18-year-old plaintiff from White Plains, New York, said. "The Trump administration tried to avoid trial, but they can't ignore us. Our future is our choice and I believe the courts will stand with our constitutional rights."

Kiran Oommen, a 21-year-old plaintiff from Seattle, Washington, added: "The question of the last few years has not been 'do we have a case' but rather 'how far will the federal government go to prevent justice.' We have seen that they are willing to go to many lengths to cover up their crimes and maintain the status quo, but not even the Trump administration can go far enough to escape the inevitable tide of social progress. The Ninth Circuit's decision affirms that we are on the side of justice, and for justice we are moving forward. We'll see you in court."

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Trump Administration Offers 77 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to Oil Industry

The Trump administration is holding the biggest offshore oil and gas lease auction in U.S. history Wednesday, offering all 77 million acres of unleased, available federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt. Mitchell Resnick

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7 Must-See Films at the 42nd Cleveland International Film Fest

It's that time, again!

EcoWatch is proud to be a media partner of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF), now celebrating its 42nd year. This year, EcoWatch is honored to be sponsoring Anote's Ark. This documentary spotlights Kiribati, a small remote island facing devastating effects due to climate change.

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Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: 'We have approved Bayer's plans to take over Monsanto because the parties' remedies, worth well over €6 billion, meet our competition concerns in full.' EU Commission Twitter

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The European Union approved Bayer's takeover of Monsanto, a major hurdle in the $66 billion merger that would create the world's largest integrated seed and pesticide conglomerate.

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Marine debris laden beach in Hawaii. NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr

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If we don't act now, plastic pollution in the world's oceans is projected to increase three-fold within seven years, according to a startling new report.

The Future of the Sea report, released Wednesday for the UK government, found that human beings across the globe produce more than 300 million metric tons of plastic per year. Unfortunately, a lot of that material ends up in our waters, with the total amount of plastic debris in the sea predicted to increase from 50 million metric tons in 2015 to 150 million metric tons by 2025.

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