As part of the discovery process leading to the trial, the youth plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States have requested documents from the American Petroleum Institute (API), an intervenor-defendant in their climate case.
On Tuesday, the plaintiffs released a copy of the request, which calls for a factual record of the part the oil and gas industry played in government decisions that led to climate change over the past 50 years.
ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell and other large oil companies are part of API, the largest U.S. trade group for the oil and gas industry.
“The team is definitely gearing up for this monumental but very important task of getting ready for trial and winning this case at trial,” said Alex Loznak, a 20-year-old youth plaintiff from Douglas County.
Loznak said this step is connected to the upcoming deposition of Rex Tillerson, the current U.S. secretary of state and former ExxonMobil CEO. Tillerson does not only have ties to API but is now one of the defendants in the case, and Loznak said he expects the deposition to take place within the next couple of months.
“We’re going to get information about the deliberate suppression of climate change science by the industry, and how they’ve colluded with government agencies and influenced policy to encourage government actions that would increase emissions, despite the knowledge they had of the ill effect that would occur from that,” Loznak said.
He said he’s been disappointed with Trump’s actions to roll back climate change regulations established under the Obama administration.
“Every action he takes underlines the importance of this case and the need for the courts to really step up and fill that role that he is failing to do,” Loznak said of the president.
Loznak and others involved in the climate case will be working to research testimonies and documents in preparation for the trial, which is expected to take place in late summer or early fall of this year.