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9th Circ. Won't Shut Down Kids' Climate Suit Against Feds

9th Circ. Won't Shut Down Kids' Climate Suit Against Feds

A federal appellate court has declined the Justice Department's request to bring an early end to a lawsuit brought on behalf of 21 young people who claim the federal government is failing to address climate change and provide a livable climate.

The Trump administration can't skirt litigating a case where almost two dozen kids accuse the government of failing to ensure that future generations will inherit a clean planet able to support human life, the Ninth Circuit ruled.

The federal lawsuit seeks a court order that requires the government to drastically and quickly reduce carbon dioxide emissions that climate scientists say causes global warming.

Julia Olson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement that the group will seek a trial date for later this year, "where we will put the federal government's unsafe energy system and climate policies on trial". The fossil fuel groups intervened in the case in 2016 as they joined with the federal government to try and have the case dismissed. "They allege that climate change is injuring them and will continue to injure them".

The Department of Justice is expected to ask the Supreme Court to drop the case.

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The appeal is In re: US v. USDC-ORE, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco). The Trump administration said that it is based on "utterly unprecedented legal theories" and it is unreasonable to use research that was conducted as far back as the Lyndon Johnson presidency.

A three-judge panel unanimously concluded the issues raised by the federal government are "better addressed through the ordinary course of litigation".

By a 3-0 vote, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the administration had not met the "high bar" under federal law to dismiss the OR lawsuit, which was originally brought in 2015 against the administration of President Barack Obama. The Ninth Circuit assures the Government that there are remedies available in the trial court and the Ninth Circuit if they are needed. "However, the district court needs to consider those issues further in the first instance".

Julia Olson, co-counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children's Trust, one of the organizations supporting the kids, said the Ninth Circuit's move signaled a "green light for trial".

Barring an intervention by the Supreme Court, U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken must now decide which government officials can be questioned in depositions.


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