A group of young people filed a lawsuit against the federal government for its role in climate change.
The case is explosive in its implications. The allegations brought by the youth behind the lawsuit allege that the federal government must be held legally accountable for its role in infringing on the younger generation’s constitutional rights to life via carrying out practices that advance climate change.
The Children’s Trust, an organization aligned with the young people who have brought the lawsuit, says of the suit:
‘Their complaint asserts that, through the governments affirmative actions in causing climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources.’
That lawsuit is now set to go to trial, with President Donald Trump having replaced President Obama as a defendant.
Back on November 10, 2016 — two days after Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States — a federal judge in Oregon rejected the motion filed by the federal government and fossil fuel companies named as defendants in the case to have the suit dismissed.
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Administration is fighting this lawsuit feverishly.
The Washington Post reports that early this month, the Trump White House “filed a motion to overturn a ruling by a federal judge back in November that cleared the lawsuit for trial — and filed a separate motion to delay trial preparation until that appeal is considered.”
Shortly after Trump’s inauguration, the plantiffs behind the lawsuit in question filed a motion to have the court compel the Trump Administration to preserve climate data, basing their move off reports that the Trump Administration had ordered climate data to be abandoned and/or destroyed.
The Trump Administration has replied to that motion by asking the court to strike it down because the “burden” of preservation is unduly large for the government.
Such a strange assertion fits in with the Trump Administration’s frenzy to find programs to cut in order to fund that godforsaken border wall. They don’t even mind if they destroy climate data as long as they make a buck.
The Post notes that it remains to be seen what will be the outcomes of the federal government’s respective appeals to dismiss the case and to stay trial preparations in the meantime. It’s also, of course, far from certain what the outcome will be should the case successfully make it to trial.
Basing off available legal precedent, the federal government would likely be compelled to take some sort of verifiable, substantive action to address greenhouse gas emissions if the judge ruled in the plantiffs’ favor.
As the Post notes, taking “verifiable, substantive action to address greenhouse gas emissions” is directly in contradiction with the clear goals of the Trump administration to roll back environmental protection in the name of “creating jobs.”
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