The climate lawsuit brought by 21 young people can proceed to trial, following Wednesday’s decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The three-judge panel unanimously ruled against the Donald Trump administration’s petition to have the case dismissed. clearing the way for the case go to trial in U.S. District Court.
When reached by phone Wednesday, Eric Grant, the deputy assistant attorney general representing the U.S. government in the case, declined to comment.
The 21 plaintiffs, including Alex Loznak and Jacob Lebel of Douglas County, claim the federal government knew about climate change for decades, but continued to promote fossil fuel production
They ask the Trump administration to institute a national science-based climate recovery program.
Lebel told The News-Review he’s very happy about the decision.
“It’s a good conclusion to this little side trip we took to the 9th Circuit Court for the Trump administration’s desire to delay this trial for as long as they possibly could and avoid the evidence we are going to bring to this trial,” Lebel said.
The federal government had claimed the evidence discovery process was too burdensome and the case should not go to trial. But the judges wrote in a statement the administration did not establish that it would be harmed by the discovery process.
“There is enduring value in the orderly administration of litigation by the trial courts, free of needless appellate interference,” the judges wrote. “If appellate review could be invoked whenever a district court denied a motion to dismiss, we would be quickly overwhelmed with such requests, and the resolution of cases would be unnecessarily delayed.”
Lebel said it’s frustrating the Trump administration’s motion delayed the trial, which was originally set for Feb. 5, but he’s grateful the case will move forward.
“This trial is super important because we’ll have the best scientists on the planet talking about the impacts of climate change on our forest ecosystems, on severe weather, flooding, biodiversity, coral reefs, ocean acidification, social impacts and national security,” Lebel said.
Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel of Our Children’s Trust and co-counsel for youth plaintiffs, said she will ask the District Court for a trial date in 2018.
“We will put the federal government’s dangerous energy system and climate policies on trial for infringing the constitutional rights of young people,” she said in a press release announcing the decision.
Editor’s Note: Alex Loznak is the son of News-Review senior reporter Carisa Cegavske.