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California children sue EPA for ‘intentional’ role in climate crisis | Climate crisis

Eighteen California children are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its role in the climate crisis.

In a lawsuit filed Sunday, plaintiffs aged eight to 17 allege that the federal agency “intentionally” allows dangerous levels of heat emissions for the planet from vehicles, power plants, fossil fuel wells and… other sources of pollution, even if they know that this endangers the health and well-being of children.

“We are fleeing wildfires, displaced by floods, and panicking in overheated classrooms during another heat wave. We feel constant worry about the future and, around us, no one is moving fast enough,” Noah, a 15-year-old plaintiff, said in a statement. (Legal documents and declarations omit minors’ last names.) “The Constitution guarantees to every American the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, including and especially to children. »

The lawsuit, Genesis B v. EPA, is the latest in a series of youth-led constitutional climate cases brought by the nonprofit law firm Our Children’s Trust. In August, the company won a historic victory in Montana, when a judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs who alleged the state’s fossil fuel policy violated their right to a clean, healthy environment, as provides for the constitution of the State.

Another federal lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust, Juliana v. United States in 2015, is also underway. In In June, a U.S. district court ruled in favor of the young plaintiffs, allowing their claims to be decided in an open court trial; the trial date has not yet been announced.

Juliana’s case names a number of government actors as defendants, including the president and several other agencies and officials. In contrast, the new lawsuit names only three defendants: the United States federal government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and current EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

“There is a federal agency explicitly charged with maintaining clean air and controlling pollution to protect the health of every child and the well-being of a nation – the EPA,” said Julia Olson, founder and advisor Chief Legal Officer of Our Children’s Trust, in a statement. statement. “The agency has done the opposite on climate pollution and it is time for the EPA to be held accountable in our courts for violating the U.S. Constitution and misusing the authority delegated to it by Congress.”

EPA’s negligence began when the agency was founded more than 50 years ago, the lawsuit claims.

“Rather than use the authority delegated to it by Congress to protect air quality and the climate system…the EPA has charted an illegal course by authorizing levels of climate pollution that have destabilized the very foundation and ordained freedom of the children’s lives, including that of the plaintiffs,” the lawsuit reads. said. “In doing so, the EPA exceeded its delegated authority and harmed life, health, well-being, safety, security, dignity, happiness, potential longevity and an open livable future for the plaintiffs, as children, in violation of the Constitution of the United States. .”

An EPA spokeswoman, Shayla Powell, said the agency could not comment on the lawsuit specifically because it was ongoing, but that the agency under President Biden was “committed to using all the extent of its authorities to protect communities and reduce pollution which is”. driver of climate change. Last month, she noted, the organization also created the very first federal advisory committee composed exclusively of young people and dedicated to the environment.

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