Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Trial Date Set in Kids Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

Popular
Trial Date Set in Kids Climate Lawsuit Against U.S. Government
© Robin Loznak Photography, LLC

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin issued an order Thursday in the climate lawsuit brought by 21 youth, Juliana v. United States, setting a trial date for Feb. 5, 2018 before U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken in Eugene, Oregon.


Juliana v. United States was 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 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.

"On February 5, 2018, science, not alternative facts, will be presented to the court to establish that our nation's children and grandchildren are being victimized by climate change," said Philip L. Gregory, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs. "Given our excellent panel of experts, and the ongoing problems created by the Trump Administration, we believe the court will use the constitution and the public trust doctrine to protect our climate from further serious damage."

Several of the youth plaintiffs issued statements:

"I'm excited that we have a date now," said Jayden Foytlin, 14, of Rayne, Louisiana. "I think we are all looking forward to our day in court. I feel like we are that much closer to justice."

"The Trump Administration plays directly into the hands of fossil fuel industries while ignoring the impending dangers of climate change and his responsibility as a leader to protect our future," said Nathan Baring, 17, of Fairbanks, Alaska. "Why should the industry bother spending millions on a legal defense when they have a vicious advocate in the White House already fighting for their interests?"

"Despite incessant efforts by government and industry to prevent our case from moving forward, the date is set for trial," said Alex Loznak, 20, of Roseburg, Oregon. "Having seen some of the most damning evidence to be presented at trial, I am confident that our claims will prevail."

The order also released three fossil fuel industry trade associations, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), as defendants in the case, without placing any conditions on their withdrawal.

When the youth plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in 2015, they did not name NAM, API or AFPM as defendants. The associations joined together to intervene in November 2015 on the side of the U.S. government defendants, but last month, all three industry groups submitted motions seeking the court's permission to withdraw from the case.

Linda Kelly, NAM general counsel, recently said that because of the shift in administrations, NAM "no longer feel[s] that [its] participation in this case is needed to safeguard industry and [its] workers."

"Over 18 months ago, these fossil fuel associations went to incredible lengths to become defendants so that they could shut down this case," said Julia Olson, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children's Trust. "They failed, and youth prevailed. Now these youth and the top climate experts on the planet can go to trial against the Trump administration."

On June 9, the Trump administration filed a petition for writ of mandamus with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking an extraordinarily rare review of a Nov. 10, 2016 decision by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken to deny its motion to dismiss the case. The Ninth Circuit has not requested the parties to submit briefs on the government's petition, and could deny it without doing so.

Rise and Resist activist group marched together to demand climate and racial justice. Steve Sanchez / Pacific Press / LightRocket / Getty Images

By Alexandria Villaseñor

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

My journey to becoming an activist began in late 2018. During a trip to California to visit family, the Camp Fire broke out. At the time, it was the most devastating and destructive wildfire in California history. Thousands of acres and structures burned, and many lives were lost. Since then, California's wildfires have accelerated: This past year, we saw the first-ever "gigafire," and by the end of 2020, more than four million acres had burned.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16. U.S. Department of the Interior

By Jessica Corbett

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government's federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

Read More Show Less
Trending
David Attenborough narrates "The Year Earth Changed," premiering globally April 16 on Apple TV+. Apple

Next week marks the second Earth Day of the coronavirus pandemic. While a year of lockdowns and travel restrictions has limited our ability to explore the natural world and gather with others for its defense, it is still possible to experience the wonder and inspiration from the safety of your home.

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

For April's bookshelf we take a cue from Earth Day and step back to look at the bigger picture. It wasn't climate change that motivated people to attend the teach-ins and protests that marked that first observance in 1970; it was pollution, the destruction of wild lands and habitats, and the consequent deaths of species.

Read More Show Less
An Amazon.com Inc. worker walks past a row of vans outside a distribution facility on Feb. 2, 2021 in Hawthorne, California. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Over the past year, Amazon has significantly expanded its warehouses in Southern California, employing residents in communities that have suffered from high unemployment rates, The Guardian reports. But a new report shows the negative environmental impacts of the boom, highlighting its impact on low-income communities of color across Southern California.

Read More Show Less