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Clean Air Council

Kids Sue Trump Over Climate Rollbacks and Reliance on 'Junk Science'

Two Philadelphia-area children are suing President Donald Trump and two of his climate skeptic cabinet members, Energy Sec. Rick Perry and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, to try to stop them from rolling back existing environmental protections including the Clean Power Plan.

The plaintiffs, ages 7 and 11, are backed by the Clean Air Council, Philadelphia's oldest environmental non-profit. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Monday.


The complaint alleges that the Trump administration's reliance on "junk science" to undo climate regulations are a threat to the young plaintiffs and other U.S. citizens. It states:

"In recent years, the United States has experienced a steady increase in extreme weather events that have destroyed American homes and businesses, displaced millions of United States citizens, and caused the tragic loss of lives. The United States Government's current acts to roll back regulations and practices previously directed at addressing and minimizing the United States contribution to climate change will increase the frequency and severity of these extreme weather events and the dangers to Plaintiffs' lives and a life-sustaining environment.

Through these acts, the Government is relying on junk science to wage a war on facts, data, and reliable principles and methods arising out of scientific, technical, and specialized knowledge. In doing so, Defendants have acted with reckless and deliberate indifference to the established clear and present dangers of climate change, knowingly increasing its resulting damages, death, and destruction."

The children are only identified by their first and last initials in the court papers. Seven-year-old plaintiff "S.B." claims to be suffering from medical issues, including severe seasonal allergies that cause recurrent nosebleeds and vomiting, that are "directly impacted by the climate" and "as a result of Defendants' affirmative acts in causing increased climate."

Eleven-year-old plaintiff "B.B." claims to be suffering from asthma that is exacerbated by climate change. Before moving to Philadelphia, he lived in New York and experienced the impacts of Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. He similarly alleges he is experiencing harm from "the Defendants' affirmative acts in causing increased climate change."

"B.B. is passionate about protecting the environment, and experiences anxiety about the potentially irreversible impact of climate change on the planet and future generations, including his own children and grandchildren," the court papers state.

Incidentally, the lawsuit comes after the White House's released a sweeping report on Friday concluding that climate change is real and poses as a major threat to the U.S. and humans are "extremely likely" to be responsible. The 477-page National Climate Assessment conflicted with Trump's notorious stance on global warming as a "hoax" and defied his continued efforts to dismantle environmental regulations on both the national and international scale.

"We will not stand idly by while President Trump and his agencies raze crucial environmental protections, ignore climate science, dispute well-documented facts and force future generations of Americans to suffer the consequences of this administration's reckless choices and ignorant policies," Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Minott told The Hill.

"We must hold the federal government accountable for the long-term environmental harm that is propagating under its direction. It's time to fight back," he said.

As Reuters reported, by including the children, the Clean Air Council appears to be modeling its case after Juliana v. U.S., a pending federal lawsuit brought by 21 young plaintiffs and Earth Guardians who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government's creation of climate danger.

"The Clean Air Council case is taking the legal theories pioneered in Juliana and applying them to a narrow set of facts related to specific rollbacks of the Trump administration," explained Meg Ward, a spokeswoman for Our Children's Trust, a group leading the Juliana suit.

The Trump administration has not issued a comment on the lawsuit.

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