Our Children's Trust

Trial Date Set for Groundbreaking Kids' Climate Lawsuit

Kids holding climate banners

By Lorraine Chow, Ecowatch. Reposted with permission from Ecowatch.

A trial date of Oct. 29 has been set for a landmark climate change lawsuit brought by a group of young Americans despite the Trump administration's efforts to halt the case.

Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 on behalf of 21 plaintiffs who ranged between 8 to 19 years old at the time. They allege their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government's creation of a national energy system that causes dangerous climate change.

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

Youth plaintiffs cheering in Oregon

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

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.

Another Washington State Natural Gas Project Must Account for Its Total Climate Impacts

Protesters carrying signs against the Tacoma LNG plant

By Stephen Quirke

For the fourth time since July 2013, Washington state is requiring an analysis of the full climate impacts of a major fossil fuel project proposed within its borders.

Most recently, the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency announced on January 24 it would hire a consultant to undertake a full life-cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions associated with Puget Sound Energy's liquefied natural gas (LNG) project at the Port of Tacoma.

National Association of Manufacturers Attempts 11th Hour Escape from Our Children's Trust Climate Lawsuit

By Dan Zegart, originally published at Climate Investigations Center 

In a last-minute legal maneuver, the National Association of Manufacturers is trying to extricate itself from a closely-watched federal climate lawsuit 18 months after it won a legal battle allowing it to intervene in the case.

Trump Administration Pressing for Appeal, Dismissal of Climate Lawsuit

This is a guest post by Dan Zegart crossposted from Climate Investigations Center

The Trump administration is asking an Oregon federal judge in the Our Children's Trust case to let a higher court review her decision to permit a historic climate change lawsuit to proceed, and to halt the case pending the outcome of that review.

In 2015, a group of 21 young plaintiffs aged 9 to 20 from all over the United States, along with renowned climate scientist James Hansen, who is acting as guardian for future generations, sued the federal government for allegedly violating their constitutional rights via policies that promote global warming.

The suit, filed by the non-profit Our Children's Trust organization, claims there is a “public trust” obligation by the federal government under the constitution to take necessary measures to protect the climate.  In a November 10, 2016 decision, federal District Court Judge Ann Aiken agreed with the OCT plaintiffs, and ruled they were entitled under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to a trial to decide if the government failed in that duty, a startling decision.

In papers filed Monday, in Eugene, Oregon, U.S. Department of Justice attorneys requested permission from Judge Aiken to appeal her decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals — and also asked that the process be expedited due to “the significance of the issues raised and the burden on Federal Defendants that discovery is likely to impose.”

Open Letter About WA Governor Inslee's Appeal of Youth Climate Victory

This is a guest post by Andrea Rogers and Julia Olson 

We are the attorneys who represent the eight courageous youths who presented [Washington Governor Jay] Inslee with an unprecedented climate protection opportunity to issue rules to protect their future from carbon pollution.  We write not just as their advocates, but as mothers of young children as well. We do not now, nor have we ever, questioned Gov. Inslee’s professed commitment to addressing climate change. 

But as kids know too well, actions speak louder than words and action based on solid science is sorely lacking at all levels of government, including within Gov. Inslee’s administration. What we have asked Gov. Inslee for is a Climate Recovery Rule for the state of Washington, detailing and describing how Washington will use its existing authority to cap and draw down GHG emissions in a manner consistent with the best current scientific understanding of what it will take to protect not just these eight brave youths, but all of us, present and future generations alike.

Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

This is a guest post by Our Children's Trust originally published on EcoWatch

Today, in a surprise ruling from the bench in the critical climate case brought by youths against the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session.

Judge Hill also ordered the Department of Ecology to consult with the youth petitioners in advance of that recommendation. The youths were forced back to court after the Department of Ecology unexpectedly withdrew the very rulemaking efforts to reduce carbon emissions the agency told the judge it had underway. This case is one of several similar state, federal and international cases, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.

Should Kids Be Able to Sue For a Safe Climate? This Federal Court is About to Decide

This is a guest post by Clayton Aldern, originally co-published by BillMoyers.com and Grist.

EUGENE, OREGON — Courtrooms usually aren’t jovial places, but with 21 youth plaintiffs and two busloads of supporting junior high-school students in tow, the air in the US District Courthouse here on Wednesday felt more field trip than federal court.

The occasion for the youthful energy was a hearing on a complaint filed on behalf of the plaintiffs, aged 8–19, by Oregon nonprofit Our Children’s Trust. The kids’ lawyers assert that their clients, and the younger generation as a whole, have been deprived of key rights by their own government. By failing to act on climate change, they argue, the United States government — including President Obama and a baker’s dozen federal agencies — has valued its own generation more than future generations, who will bear a greater burden with respect to the climate crisis.

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