Media Coverage of Youth Atmospheric Trust Legal Actions (July 2, 2012 - current)
The following is a list of articles written about the lawsuits and legal actions in the various states, as well as the federal case. We have chosen to create PDF attachments of these articles for archiving purposes. Please let us know if you have any problems accessing any of these articles. Happy Reading!
March 14, 2013 - As His Home Melts Away, Teenager Sues Alaska
In an All Things Considered, NPR article, Ed Ronco talks with Nelson Kanuk, Alaskan youth plaintiff, about the impacts of climate change in his Yu'pik village of Kipnuk, Alaska.
A state court judge in Anchorage dismissed Kanuk's case, and he's appealing that decision. He says he understands some people might view an eroding riverbank as a consequence of living in a remote wilderness. But he doesn't see it that way.
"It's not different from your home," Kanuk says. "Because that is where we live and it's part of who we are. It's the same with you."
March 13, 2013 - Will judges force the Netherlands to meet E.U. climate goals?
In an article published in Climate Wire on March 12, 2013, Erica Rex (E&E correspondent) reports that:
"A Dutch foundation, Stichting Urgenda, is suing the Dutch government for failing to act to meet the European Commission's climate goals. These include a target of 25 to 40 percent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to maintain a 50% chance of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
Nine U.S. states have atmospheric trust litigation pending, and there are countless other environmental regulatory cases before federal courts, but the Urgenda case is the first of its kind in Europe."
February 23, 2013 - Julia Olson Op-Ed in Register Guard
Julia shares her personal story of getting shot multiple times as a kid by a stranger with a semi-automatic assault rifle. While she applauds our nation's moves towards ensuring that our children are safer, she also pleas for our nation to come up with a climate recovery plan to protect our children from the impacts of climate change. In Two Urgent Threats: Guns, Climate Change, Julia talks about how "global warming is like a loaded gun in our midst, and yet we have no plan to curb the destruction."
February 12, 2013 - TRUST Colorado
A beautiful article in the Denver Post talks with Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (TRUST Colorado) about his climate work in the foothills of Colorado.
"Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 12, scampers over logs and rocks, dark hair dancing as he jumps from boulder to boulder. Now he is romping through high grass with his younger brother and enormous dog; now the impassioned sixth-grader is talking into the camera, explaining why he likes spending so much time in the mountains."
December 10, 2012:Mt. Edgecumbe Senior Sues AK Over Climate Change
Nelson Kanuk, Alaskan youth plaintiff from Kipnuk, Alaska, is one of six Alaska youth, who are asking the state to consider the atmosphere a public trust, and to exercise their duty to protect it.
“That is where my family grew up, and that is where my ancestors have lived,” Kanuk said. “We’re coming into a new world, where many cultures are constantly changing. But I believe it’s important to keep our feet in our homeland, and remember our roots and remember our traditional values.”
Click HERE to read the entire article.
November 9, 2012 - TRUST Campaign/TRUST Alaska
An op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor by Sarah Strand mentions the TRUST Campaign and was published on election day!
"It’s unacceptable that it took a disaster like Sandy to finally bring climate change back into the conversation. Today is election day in the United States, but climate change should have been on the campaign agenda months ago. In fact, it should always be on the agenda. The evidence shouldn’t be disputed any longer. Climate change is real, and its effects are being seen in real time."
October 21, 2012 - Kansas
Michael Ricciardi wrote a fantastic article in Planetsave about 14-year-old Samantha Farb, who is the latest youth plaintiff in a series of Atmospheric Trust Litigations.
"In the current ‘political climate’ of disinformation regarding human-caused climate change, and the pervasive political (Congressional) inertia to do anything substantive about it, it is quite heartening to know that some of the most serious, legal pushes to take action are coming from young people. This should not be as surprising at it may seem at first — young folks (and their future off-spring) will be the direct inheritors of the impacts of anthropogenic climate change — and our generation’s failure to act now."
October 19, 2012 - Kansas
Samantha Far, a 14-year-old from Lecompton, KS filed a lawsuit on October 18, 2012 in the District Court of Shawnee County on the issue of whether the State of Kansas has an obligation to protect the atmosphere under the Public Trust Doctrine. A subsequent AP article –Kansas girl files lawsuit to force CO2 restrictions– was written and picked up by over 20 media sources across the country.
August 23, 2012 - New Mexico
Akilah Sanders Reed wrote a piece in the Albuquerque Journal in response to the Journal's Editorial Board's editorial regarding her public trust lawsuit against Gov. Susana Martinez and the state of New Mexico.
Environmental Lawsuit is About Protecting Our Future
August 13, 2012 - Oregon
Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik, the Oregon youth ATL plaintiffs, have filed a motion asking the Oregon Court of Appeals to send the case directly to the Oregon Supreme Court.
Climate lawsuit appealed: Two Eugene students ask two appeals courts to force the state of Oregon to take action on climate change (by Karen McCowan/The Register-Guard).
August 7, 2012 - Oregon
Kelsey Juliana speaks to a local Oregon news station (KVAL) about her appeal and the need for the courts to rule that the atmosphere should be protected for future generations.
Oregon Teens Take Global Warming to Oregon Supreme Court.
August 1, 2012 - Washington
Six youth plaintiffs and their guardians appealed their climate change lawsuit to the Washington State Supreme Court after King Country Superior Court judge dismissed the case.
Youths Appeal Climate Case Against Washington State
July 31, 2012 - Oregon
On Progressive Radio Network, CRAG's attorney Tanya Sanerib and our Oregon youth plaintiff, Akilah Sanders-Reed, joined Sandy LeonVest to talk about Atmospheric Trust Litigation. Take a listen around 17:21 in the show.
July 26, 2012 - Texas
David Morris, the Co-Founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, writes a fantastic article published in the Huffington Post about how the Texas judge ruled that the sky belongs to us all! THE SHOT HEARD AROUND THE WORLD!
July 25, 2012 - Arizona
Planet Save article about Jaime Lynn Butler and the Arizona appeal.
"Notice the gentle touch Jaime’s feet make softly tapping and gliding over the earth in her video for Our Children’s Trust. I feel a keen sense that Jaime Lynn Butler is nurturing of the earth as her white-moccasin-covered feet touch, hover, and dance on and above the earth, her native ground, in her hoop dance on this video regarding her lawsuit to the Arizona Court of Appeals."
July 24, 2012 - Texas
Larry Soward, the former commissioner at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, wrote a compelling commentary in Air Alliance Houston about the "Public Trust" Protection of Our Air.
"Given the clear expression of the State’s policy in the Constitution and statutes, Judge Triana’s ruling on the applicability of the public trust doctrine to protect our air and our atmosphere appears to be on sound legal footing."
July 20, 2012 - New Mexico
Public Trust Lawsuit Clears Hurdle in New Mexico (Red Lodge Clearinghouse)
"New Mexico 1st Judicial District Court Judge Sarah Singleton issued a written order Saturday denying the state's motion to dismiss and a companion request for an immediate appeal. "Plaintiffs have made a substantive allegation that ... the state is ignoring the atmosphere with respect to greenhouse gas emissions," Singleton wrote."
July 19, 2012 - Federal
EPA Seeks to Block Climate Suit Review (The Inside Story by Dawn Reeves)
"EPA and other agencies, along with industry groups, are urging a federal judge to deny a request from plaintiffs to reconsider his decision dismissing novel climate change claims under the public trust doctrine."
July 18, 2012 - Combined
Federalism at Work: Recent Developments in Public Trust Lawsuits to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions (by Alexandra Klass/Center for Progressive Reform)
"...the variety of approaches to this doctrine among the states in our federalist system means that some state courts may be able to shape the public trust doctrine based on their own state common law, statues, and constitution to recognize the modern threat to natural resources caused by climate change. The decisions so far are a classic example of federalism at work as well as evidence of the continuing power and potential of the public trust doctrine to protect the natural resources when regulation fails to meet present-day environmental protection needs."
July 17, 2012 - Texas
Texas Judge Rules Atmosphere, Air is 'Public Trust' (by Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Associated Press/Manufacturing.net)
"A Texas judge has ruled that the atmosphere and air must be protected for public use, just like water, which could help attorneys tasked with arguing climate change lawsuits designed to force states to cut emissions. The written ruling, issued in a letter Monday by Texas District Court Judge Gisela Triana, shot down arguments by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that only water is a "public trust," a doctrine that dates to the Roman Empire stating a government must protect certain resources – usually water, sometimes wildlife – for the common good."
July 16, 2012 - Texas
Why a Bunch of Kids Are Suing the TCEQ (by Sheyda Aboii/State Impact)
"Last week, a Travis County district judge ruled in favor of a bunch of kids suing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Three environmentally-minded minors and a young adult argued that Texas’ air should be protected under the public trust doctrine much like Texas’ water, and the Judge agreed."
July 16, 2012 - New Mexico/Texas
Court Allows Public Trust Lawsuit Against New Mexico to Move Forward (by William H. Carlile/Climate Change/BNA)
"The New Mexico District Court denied the defendants' motion to dismiss and
allowed the public trust lawsuit to proceed on its merits. Such lawsuits seek to compel state governments to recognize the application of the public trust doctrine to greenhouse gas emissions and to take action to reduce those emissions.
The case was brought by 18-year-old Akilah Sanders-Reed of Sandia Park, N.M., who is a member of the iMatter youth climate movement."
July 15, 2012 - Texas
In suit, minors challenge Texas environmental agency: Argument rests on linking public trust doctrine to future generations (by Asher Price/Statesman.com)
"Sixteen-year-old Eamon Umphress aims to make the varsity baseball team as a pitcher or third baseman at McCallum High School. He recently picked up steel drum and likes Latin enough to have joined the school's Latin club.
Not least, he's serving as a litigant in one of a novel set of lawsuits across the country that pit environmentally minded minors against state environmental agencies that have been slow to regulate greenhouse gases. ... in the background of the Texas suit lie profound questions about how society values what's left for future generations."
July 13, 2012 - Texas
Judge Rules Atmosphere 'Public Trust' (The Inside Story by Dawn Reeves)
"The group Our Children's Trust -- which is coordinating the litigation including the federal case dismissed this spring -- is hailing Triana's decision. “This is a blockbuster move for a Texas judge to take the position that all natural resources should be protected under the public trust doctrine,” the group says in a July 10 statement. “This may well be one of those judicial actions like Brown v. Board of Education that future generations will look to as a turning point for our planet.”"
July 12, 2012 - Texas
Texas Judge Rules Atmosphere, Air is Public Trust (by Ramit Plushnick-Masti Associated Press/ABC News
"In Texas, though, a ruling to protect air and the atmosphere has added significance. Republican Gov. Rick Perry is one of the most vocal opponents against widely accepted scientific research that fossil fuel emissions are causing global warming. And the state has refused to regulate greenhouse gases, forcing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work directly with industries to ensure they comply with federal law."
July 12, 2012 - Texas
CLIMATE: Kids claim win in legal fight over 'public trust' (by Lawrence Hurley, E&E reporter/EE News-Greenwire
"Children demanding that the federal and state governments take immediate action to combat climate change have won a first major battle in their national legal fight after a court in Texas ruled that the atmosphere is a public trust."
July 11, 2012 - Texas
Texas Judge Rules Atmosphere, Air Is Public Trust (by The Associated Press/The New York Times)
"Abrams, who has handled the Texas case on behalf of the Texas Environmental Law Center, believes Triana's ruling can be used to argue the cases in other states. So far, he said, this is the first judge to back the group, though a New Mexico court recently allowed the case to go forward,"
July 11, 2012 - Texas
Texas Judge Rules Atmosphere, Air Is Public Trust (by The Associated Press/Fox News)
"The lawsuit was brought by the Texas Environmental Law Center, and is part of a court campaign in a dozen states by an Oregon-based nonprofit, Our Children's Trust. The group is using children and young adults as plaintiffs in the lawsuits – some state and some federal – filed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington."
July 10, 2012 - Texas
Texas Court Recognizes The Atmosphere As A Public Trust Resource In Climate Change Lawsuit (by Michael Cote/Climate Adaptation)
"What’s really interesting to me is the case reinforces that the air outside is a “Public Trust” that ought to be managed for quality. The concept of the “Public Trust” is one of the oldest and most important legal doctrines in human existence. The public trust is embedded into US law, was formalized from English Common Law, and can be traced back to the Greeks. Several international treaties, and ocean and coastal policies are based on the
public trust doctrine."
July 2, 2012 - New Mexico
Public Trust Climate Litigation: On Life Support, But Still Breathing For Now (by Foley Hoag LLP/JD Supra)
"I will be interested to see what appellate courts in New Mexico make of this. I know no more of New Mexico procedural law than I do its substantive public trust law, but if ever there were a case for interlocutory review of a denial of a motion to dismiss, this would be the case."
July 2, 2012 - New Mexico/Federal
Novel Climate 'Trust' Suit Advances (The Inside Story)
"A novel activist suit claiming New Mexico has a duty under the public trust doctrine to cut greenhouse gases (GHGs) is advancing after a clearing a key procedural hurdle, while activists are also appealing a federal district court judge's decision rejecting a trust suit against the federal government."