The lawsuit, brought by a group of 21 children and young adults against the federal government, alleges that the United States government has violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. The lawsuit is based on the old legal doctrine of public trust, which holds that it is the government’s responsibility to preserve certain natural resources for public use. Under the public trust doctrine, the children’s attorneys argue, the government must protect the commonly held atmosphere — and is failing to do so by taking inadequate action to fight climate change.
The Trump administration, joined by fossil fuel companies, is stepping up its fight against a historic federal climate lawsuit, seeking an appeal of a November decision that allowed the case to move forward to trial. The Trump administration also argued that an earlier request — which asked the government to retain records of communication about climate change between the government and the fossil fuel industry — was overly burdensome.
“This request for appeal is an attempt to cover up the federal government’s long-running collusion with the fossil fuel industry,” Alex Loznak, a 20-year old plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. “My generation cannot wait for the truth to be revealed. These documents must be uncovered with all deliberate speed, so that our trial can force federal action on climate change.”