New Win in Youth Climate Lawsuit in Washington: Judge Orders New Rules to Cap Emissions

Written by on May 2, 2016 in Environment with 4 Comments
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Friday's ruling is "the first time [that] a U.S. court not only recognized the extraordinary harms young people are facing due to climate change, but ordered an agency to do something about it." (Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr/cc)

Friday's ruling is “the first time [that] a U.S. court not only recognized the extraordinary harms young people are facing due to climate change, but ordered an agency to do something about it.” (Photo: Joe Brusky/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis | Common Dreams

The young activists suing the U.S. government over its role in climate change scored another victory in court on Friday, as a judge in Seattle ordered the Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) to announce an emissions reduction rule by the end of the year and make recommendations to reach those targets to the state legislature in 2017.

King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill also ordered the department to consult with the young plaintiffs on crafting those recommendations.

“This is an urgent situation,” Hill said in issuing the order. “These kids can't wait.”


The DOE in February withdrew its proposal to cap emissions, following a landmark ruling in November 2015 which found that the state's current standards fail to “preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality for the current and future generations.”

Friday's ruling is “the first time [that] a U.S. court not only recognized the extraordinary harms young people are facing due to climate change, but ordered an agency to do something about it,” said Andrea Rodgers, an attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center who represents the young plaintiffs. The DOE “is now court-ordered to issue a rule that fulfills its constitutional and public trust duty to ensure Washington does its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect the planet.”

The case in Washington is one of several similar legal battles underway in the U.S., all supported by the environmental advocacy group Our Children's Trust, as youth activists take U.S. agencies to court to demand action over climate change. An Oregon judge ruled earlier this month that a complaint filed by more than a dozen young plaintiffs against the federal government—referred to by advocates as “the most important lawsuit on the planet right now”—can go to trial.

“It was absurd for [the DOE] to withdraw its proposed rule to reduce carbon emissions,” petitioner Aji Piper, 15, who is taking part in both the state and federal lawsuits, said in a statement on Friday. “Especially after Judge Hill declared last fall that our ‘very survival depends upon the will of [our] elders to act now…to stem the tide of global warming.'”

Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel at Our Children's Trust, added, “This case explains why youth around this country, and in several other countries, are forced to bring their governments to court to secure a healthy atmosphere and stable climate. Despite clear scientific evidence and judicial recognition of the urgency of the climate crisis, Washington and most governments across the U.S. and other countries are failing to take correspondingly urgent, science-based action.”

“That failure unfairly consigns youth to a disproportionately bleak future against which they can only reasonably ask the courts to step in to address this most sensitive issue of our time,” Olson said.

Read more great articles at Common Dreams.

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  1. irishfreedom@news.com' the difference between Saving People and Liberating the Individual says:

    Does this lead to
    more taxation, forced “carbon taxation” and a stripping
    of constitutional rights on a personal, individual, local,
    state and country level?

    Americans or our environment being taken care of SOLEY by a nanny-daddy caretaking federal government is not sound, nor the right solution or final solution. the federal govenrment also
    subsizes practices that harm the environment, along with
    a lack of CHECKS AND BALANCES
    that protect companies such as AT & T proliferation of weather, local ecology harming technology
    such as “smart grids” and cell towers (wireless radiation), rather
    than ENCOURAGE a free market.

    the answer is to do whatever it takes to protect, protect and preserve LIBERTY at each state and local, and residential – neighborhood level to begin taking care of the problems. to begin transferring power to the public as the constitution espouses. to transfer power to the
    public level, not GIVE AWAY MORE POWER to an out-of-control federal government.

    the forecast: giving the federal government permission to

    the messes that have occurred are due to out of control,
    too big, government –

    people have the power to take care of any matters,
    in your own government in your own city – it
    always begins at home, as a priority and the focus –
    and then things begin to change, as a trend —

    where federal powers start becoming de-centralized
    and VASTLY REDUCED and dwindlled to it’s original purpose and
    local and public goverances take PRECEDENCE:

    according to the founding forefathers, natural and cosmic law and the ancestors before who ruled
    not under one “king” or “leader” of an entire country, but under
    MANY self-leading leaders who meet to PRESERVE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE
    GENUINE LIBERTY, LIBERATION AND TRUE WILL, WHICH LEADS TO EVERLASTING LIFE, OF EACH INDIVIDUAL, (HENCE, THE WORLD OUTSIDE A RESULT)
    NO OTHER TRUE WILL CAN OR MAY BE IMPOSED ON ANOTHER –
    only this then, can lead to

    true, peace, true prosperity, life, renewal, friendly relations and freedom.

    The Liberty Party

  2. irishfreedom@news.com' the difference between Saving People and Liberating the Individual says:

    Does this lead to
    more taxation, forced “carbon taxation” and a stripping
    of constitutional rights on a personal, individual, local,
    state and country level?

    Americans or our environment being taken care of SOLEY by a nanny-daddy caretaking federal government is not sound, nor the right solution or final solution. the federal government also
    subsizes practices that harm the environment, along with
    a lack of CHECKS AND BALANCES
    that protect companies such as AT & T proliferation of weather, local ecology harming technology
    such as “smart grids” and cell towers (wireless radiation), rather
    than ENCOURAGE a free market.

    the answer is to do whatever it takes to protect, protect and preserve LIBERTY at each state and local, and residential – neighborhood level to begin taking care of the problems. to begin transferring power to the public as the constitution espouses. to transfer power to the
    public level, not GIVE AWAY MORE POWER to an out-of-control federal government.

    the forecast:

    While people have and DO POSSESS the power to take care of any matters,
    in their own government and their own city – it
    always begins at home, as a priority and the focus –
    and then, matters begin to change, as a trend — it begins, as
    a natural process and byproduct, to re-establish TRUE accountability
    and checks and balances of the

    federal government while INDEPENDENCE at each of your own personal, localized and state aspect.

    federal powers can then become de-centralized
    and VASTLY REDUCED – dwindlled to it’s original purpose while
    local and public governances take PRECEDENCE:

    honoring the founding forefathers, natural and cosmic law and the ancestors before who ruled
    not under one “king” or “leader” of an entire country, but under
    MANY self-leading leaders who meet to PRESERVE, PROTECT AND PROMOTE
    GENUINE LIBERTY, LIBERATION AND TRUE WILL, WHICH LEADS TO EVERLASTING LIFE, OF EACH INDIVIDUAL, (HENCE, THE WORLD OUTSIDE A RESULT)
    NO OTHER TRUE WILL CAN OR MAY BE IMPOSED ON ANOTHER –
    only this then, can lead to

    true, peace, true prosperity, life, renewal, friendly relations and freedom.

    Liberty Party

  3. irishfreedom@news.com' the difference between Saving People and Liberating the Individual says:

    http://www.thedreyfussinitiative.org

    https://www.facebook.com/TheDreyfussInitiative/?fref=ts

    It’s almost as if the Republicans (monopoly) and the Democrats (dictatorship) have decided to show us by example what the problem is,” Dreyfuss said.

    Re-establishing civics education to foster independent thought and critical thinking.

  4. irishfreedom@news.com' the difference between Saving People and Liberating the Individual says:

    https://www.thedreyfussinitiative.org

    https://www.facebook.com/TheDreyfussInitiative/?fref=ts

    It’s almost as if the Republicans (monopoly) and the Democrats (dictatorship) have decided to show us by example what the problem is,” Dreyfuss said.

    Re-establishing civics education to foster independent thought and critical thinking.

    ___

    Clint Eastwood, Kurt Russell, John Stossel, among many well known peoples support the highest principles of Liberty and constitutional Libertarianism.

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