PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Youth climate activists are attempting to bring back their suit against the federal government.
They filed a motion Tuesday in federal court in Eugene to amend their lawsuit, Julianna v. United States, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
A three-member panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year found a federal judge lacked the power to order or design a climate recovery plan in the high-profile climate change lawsuit. They noted that such a remedy should be made by the nation’s politicians or voters.
Twenty-one young people sued the government six years ago, arguing a constitutional right to a sustainable climate and asked the federal court to order the United States to prepare an energy plan that moves the country away from fossil fuels.
Now, their lawyers are asking a U.S. District Court judge to allow them to change their suit to seek a different ruling: that the nation’s fossil fuel-based energy system is unconstitutional.
Julia Olson, chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust, which represents the plaintiffs, said such a court finding would “hold current and future lawmakers accountable for protecting the rights of youth.” The plaintiffs are now ages 13 to 24.
If the fossil fuel energy system is declared unconstitutional, there will be an expectation that government officials would take steps to abide by the law, the lawyers argue.