By Julia Bautista, age 13
A group of youth plaintiffs who are suing the federal government over the use of fossil fuels that have a harmful effect on the environment has finally been given a court date.
The unprecedented climate change lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, will take place on February 5, 2018, as ordered by Federal Judge Thomas Coffin. The plaintiffs are made up of 21 youths ages 9-21. The trial will take place in Eugene, Oregon.
Since the first filing in 2015, people tried to stop the court case. The government’s lawyers argued that the Constitution does not guarantee a healthy environment for civilians. In recent months, the Justice Department petitioned for a dismissal of U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken’s decision to allow the case to move forward in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, just after the court date was set.
“We sued the United States government for violating our fundamental right to a safe and stable climate,” said Kelsey Juliana, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “And while President Trump can pull out of the the Paris Agreement, he cannot pull out of our lawsuit.”
Some view the lawsuit as one last hope to force the government to take stronger action to reduce emissions, fearing that Congress and the executive branch are too heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industry.