Landmark Case: 21 Kids, Between 11 and 22, Suing Government Over Climate Change; Motion to Dismiss Twice Denied by Supreme Court


OREGON – Twenty-one young people suing the U.S. government for supposedly contributing to global warming are now asking the court system to block all forms of fossil fuel production moving forward.

The kids filed their motion late Thursday with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and asked the court for an injunction to freeze all fossil fuel infrastructure while their lawsuit against the government is pending. Trump officials have repeatedly asked the court to stop the suit through a writ of mandamus.

“At a minimum, this injunction would apply to the approximately 100 new fossil fuel infrastructure projects poised for federal permits, including pipelines, export facilities, and coal and liquefied natural gas terminal,” the motion said.

They asked the court to issue the injunction before March, when the Trump administration plans to offer nearly 80 million acres of unleased areas off the Gulf of Mexico.

The 21 plaintiffs, all between the ages of 11 and 22, argue that government officials deprived them of their due process rights by allowing the fossil fuel industry to release greenhouse gas emissions.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, filed a court brief on Friday, arguing the youngsters do not have a Constitutional right to a safe climate. Plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States, have until Feb. 22 to respond.

“I used to be able to swim at Kapa‘a Beach near my old house, but there is no beach left due to sea level rise,” Journey Zephier, 19-year-old plaintiff from Hawaii, said in an attachment connected to the motion. “Watching the beaches erode away and disappear brings me deep emotional pain.”

Research suggests coastal areas have gained land over the years. The Dutch Deltares Research Institute found in 2016, for instance, that coastal areas had grown, on net, 13,000 square miles over the last 30 years. Researchers at the institute found 67,000 square miles of water was converted into land, and 44,000 square miles of land was covered by water.

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