The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Nation's Largest Industrial Trade Association Wants Out of Kids Climate Lawsuit
After numerous legal efforts trying to get a federal district court in Oregon to throw out a climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people, a defeated National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) filed a motion Monday requesting the court's permission to withdraw from the litigation.
NAM "moves to withdraw as an intervenor—defendant from this case." Based on its pleadings in court, "NAM is the nation's largest industrial trade association representing the manufacturing sector of the United States economy."
"Over 18 months ago, NAM, like the other fossil fuel intervenors, went to great lengths to become a party defendant in this case," Julia Olson, counsel for plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children's Trust, said.
"They claimed their members were seriously threatened by our case. Now faced with significant legal victories by these young plaintiffs, and on the eve of having to take a position on climate science, NAM wants out of this case. We believe the court will determine that there should be consequences for wasting the court's time."
When youth plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in 2015, they did not name the trade associations NAM, American Petroleum Institute or American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, as defendants. On Nov. 12, 2015, these trade associations joined to intervene the side of the U.S. government defendants, calling the lawsuit a "direct threat to [their] businesses."
The position of these associations was that "significant reduction in [greenhouse gas] emissions would cause a significant negative effect on [their] members by constraining the sale of the product they have specialized in developing and selling."
In a January 2016 proceeding before Judge Thomas Coffin, an attorney representing all three trade associations explained how these associations would speak with "one voice" if permitted to join the litigation:
"...having the associations participate as associations in this litigation effectively represents those interests without a multiplicity of disparate viewpoints and voices. Rather, in fact, they have joined to speak with one voice through this intervention motion."
The court allowed NAM and its fellow fossil fuel industry associations to become defendants. However, when these intervenor defendants filed their answer to the allegations in youth's complaint, their "one voice" lacked "sufficient knowledge to admit or deny the factual allegations" to take a position on most of the claims in the complaint.
During a March 9 case management conference, intervenor defendants agreed to set forth their positions on the facts in the form of responses to requests for admissions, which Plaintiffs subsequently filed on March 24. When the intervenors had not submitted their responses by April 20, Judge Coffin ordered that they be electronically-filed with the court. At the May 18 case management conference, Judge Coffin granted intervenor defendants an extension to submit their responses until May 25. Now NAM "no longer wishes to participate" in the case, according to Monday's filing.
For more than a decade, NAM was a member of the Global Climate Coalition, a group that led an aggressive lobbying campaign against the scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions caused global warming, as Andrew Revkin revealed in the New York Times in 2009.
By way of background, NAM, like the American Petroleum Institute and their common member, ExxonMobil, had its own long-standing knowledge of climate danger. For example, NAM's Environmental Quality Committee published a document in 1975, Air Quality Control: National Issues, Standards, and Goals, which included a section on carbon dioxide, concluding:
"And it is believed that the huge amounts of carbon dioxide emitted each day are very slowly heating the Earth's atmosphere. In time, some scientists fear this scarcely perceptible rise in temperatures may cause the partial melting of the polar icecaps and extensive flooding throughout the world."
NAM's Environmental Quality Committee published a document in 1975 called Air Quality Control: National Issues, Standards, and Goals, which included a section on carbon dioxide. Our Children's Trust
It is yet to be determined whether the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers will join NAM in seeking to leave the case. Counsel for intervenor defendants has indicated to the court it is possible all three association may seek leave to withdraw.
Juliana v. United States was brought by 21 young plaintiffs who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government's creation of climate danger. The case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children's Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."