Monday, February 26, 2024

A group of California children is suing the EPA in federal court, saying it allowed climate pollution to continue despite the damages

A group of 18 children in California – from the age of 8 to 17 – filed a new constitutional climate case in federal court against the US Environmental Protection Agency, saying that it has harmed the health and well-being of children for decades.

The case, Genesis B. v. United States Environmental Protection Agency, says the EPA “deliberately allows” global warming pollution from sources it regulates, such as cars and heavy-duty trucks, power plants electricity, and oil and gas wells. It follows the first US constitutional climate case, which was successfully tried by young plaintiffs in Montana earlier this year.

The lawsuit further alleges that the agency allowed this pollution “despite knowing the harm it was causing to the health and well-being of children.” The case was filed on Sunday night in the US District Court for the Central District of California.

“There is one federal agency that is clearly tasked with keeping the air clean and controlling pollution to protect the health of every child and the well-being of a nation—the EPA,” said Julia Olson, chief legal officer. counsel for Our Children’s Trust, in a statement. “The agency is doing the opposite when it comes to climate pollution and it’s time the EPA is held accountable in our courts for violating the US Constitution and abusing congressional authority.”

Defendants in the case include current EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Regan led an EPA period that aggressively tried to curb global warming pollution from cars, power plants and the oil and gas industry.

EPA spokesman Timothy Carroll said in a statement that the agency could not comment on the lawsuit because it is pending litigation, but reiterated the agency’s commitment to enact regulations “with the urgency that the climate crisis demands.”

“The EPA is committed to using the full scope of its authority to protect communities and reduce the pollution that drives climate change,” Carroll said in a statement, citing the recent agency regulation to curb the super-pollutant methane. Carroll also gave a nod to the recently formed EPA youth advisory council focused on the environment.

The foundation of this youth climate case goes far beyond the Biden administration. Complainants say that since the EPA was created five decades ago, it has allowed the US to become one of the largest emitters of global warming pollution, despite knowing that this pollution harms children.

In the statements, the youth complainants talked about how climate-induced fires, extreme heat and floods directly affected their lives.

“We’re running from wild fires, lost in floods, panicking in hot classrooms during another heat wave,” said Noah, a 15-year-old complainant, in a statement. “We feel constant anxiety about the future, and around us nothing is moving. The Constitution guarantees every American the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness including and especially children.

The first goal for the young complainant is a trial in this case. The company representing the plaintiffs, Our Children’s Trust, argued and won a high-profile climate case in Montana state court last year – the first US constitutional climate trial.

In the Montana case, District Court Judge Kathy Seeley ruled that the state’s continued fossil fuel development violates a clause in the state constitution that guarantees citizens the right to a “clean and healthy around.” Montana is one of several states that have clear environmental guarantees written into their state constitutions. The state attorney’s office is currently appealing Seeley’s decision to the Montana Supreme Court.

Our Children’s Trust attorneys are representing several young people in another climate case in the state of Hawaii that is expected to go to trial in June 2024.

Despite the success at the state level, federal climate cases have proven more difficult to even try. Our Children’s Trust is pursuing a separate federal climate lawsuit – Juliana v. United States – which they expect to go to trial in spring 2024.

The plaintiffs in Juliana allege that the federal government’s activities in allowing further development of fossil fuels, including permitting and leasing for oil and gas drilling, violate the constitutional rights of young people. -on life, liberty and property.

World Nation News Desk
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