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For the second time in a month, a federal judge dismissed a youth climate lawsuit

The children are represented by Our Children’s Trust, an anti-fossil fuel nonprofit that organizes kids to sue state and federal agencies in an effort to get fossil fuels banned.

Published: May 12, 2024 10:48pm

A federal judge tossed a class action climate lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency, the second such litigation to be dismissed in a month.  

The complaint was filed in December by young people, arguing that the federal government, by allowing people to use fossil fuels, is causing them injury and violating their Constitutional rights.

“Climate crisis is the single greatest driver of the health of every child born today,” the complaint claims.

The children are represented by Our Children’s Trust, an anti-fossil fuel nonprofit that organizes kids to sue state and federal agencies in an effort to get fossil fuels banned.

U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in Los Angeles on Wednesday granted the EPA’s request to throw out the complaint.

“Here, Plaintiffs’ claimed injuries include ‘a lifetime of harms and hardship,’ including ‘economic harms, displacement, psychological harms, barriers to family formation, health impacts, educational deprivation, cultural and religious deprivation, and a diminished ability to seek happiness and an open future,” Fitzgerald explained in his ruling. However, the judge continued, the plaintiffs “failed to demonstrate how a declaration regarding Plaintiffs’ rights under the Constitution and the legality of Defendants’ conduct, on its own, is likely to remedy these alleged injuries.”

The ruling is the second blow to Our Children’s Trust's litigation campaign. Last week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed a similar suit from 2015.

“This order is unjust and dangerous, with significant implications for constitutional rights. When presented with a constitutional violation, there is no reason for a federal judge to throw up his hands and say nothing can be done,” Mat dos Santos, co-executive director of Our Children’s Trust said in a statement on Wednesday’s ruling.

Fitzgerald granted the plaintiffs permission to amend their complaint, and dos Santos said the group will be doing so.

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