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Kids Go To Court Over Climate Change And Ask For Halt To New Fossil Fuel Permits

The 21 young people who are filing suit against the U.S. Government over climate change
Robin Loznak
Our Children's Trust
The 21 young people who are filing suit against the U.S. Government over climate change

Twenty-one young Americans, including two from Colorado, are going to court this week for the  in their  against the U.S. government over climate change. The case, Juliana v United States, began in 2015. 

The case has been blocked numerous times by two presidential administrations. The hearing in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will decide whether or not the kids’ case can actually proceed to trial.

Danny Noonan, one of the  working on the case through the nonprofit organization, Our Children's Trust, said the case is actually about the Constitution.

“They’re seeking a declaration of their fundamental constitutional rights to a climate system capable of sustaining human life and to be protected from government actions that infringe their rights to life liberty and property which includes things like personal securities,” Noonan said.

That’s the end goal of the lawsuit. The young plaintiffs are also seeking a temporary halt to all new fossil fuel permits on federal public lands during the appeals process. 

Kathleen Sgamma with the  doesn’t believe that fossil fuels or climate change are harming young people today and said their goals are unrealistic.

“They would certainly be affected immediately,” she said, “if they didn’t have oil and natural gas and other fossil fuels providing energy and electronics and their medicines.”

Over 1000 people are expected at a rally to support the plaintiffs near the courthouse in Portland, Oregon. The court is  the hearing.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated there was one plaintiff from Colorado. There are two.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUER in Salt Lake City, and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2020 91.5 KRCC. To see more, visit .

Ali Budner is KRCC's reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a journalism collaborative that unites six stations across the Mountain West, including stations in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Montana to better serve the people of the region. The project focuses its reporting on topic areas including issues of land and water, growth, politics, and Western culture and heritage.
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