The newly installed Trump administration is seeking to halt a federal lawsuit they inherited that could head off massive changes planned at the Environmental Protection Agency.
At issue is a lawsuit filed by a group of 21 youths against President Obama and various federal agencies tasked with protecting the environment for generations to come.
According to Business Insider, the suit argues that by failing to prevent climate change despite evidence of the danger it poses, the federal government is violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. As part of their suit, the plaintiffs want the court to step in and force federal agencies to regulate carbon emissions and take whatever actions are need to slow down or prevent climate change.
In 2016, Federal Judge Ann Aiken refused to dismiss the case, stating the plaintiffs want the federal government to “cease their permitting, authorizing, and subsidizing of fossil fuels and, instead, move to swiftly phase out C02 emissions.”
A ruling against the EPA and other agencies would be a blow to the Trump administration, with new EPA head Scott Pruitt stating he intends to roll back regulations, after admitting that he doesn’t believe C02 emissions are a problem.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see,” Pruitt said in an interview with CNBC.
On March 7, the Trump administration filed a motion asking for an appeal of Aiken’s ruling, with a second motion requesting that trial be delayed until after their appeal is heard.
According to one of the plaintiffs, Alex Loznak, the government is stalling for time.
“This request for appeal is an attempt to cover up the federal government’s long-running collusion with the fossil fuel industry,” Loznak said in a statement. “My generation cannot wait for the truth to be revealed.”