Description: Action by young people under 18 years of age claiming that the State of Washington and state agencies and officials violated plaintiffs' rights by creating and maintaining fossil fuel-based transportation and energy systems.
Aji P. v. State of Washington
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 08/14/2018 Opinion and Order Download Opinion and order issued granting defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. Washington State Court Said Courts Were Not Right Forum for Young Washingtonians’ Climate Advocacy. A Washington Superior Court granted the State of Washington’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in a lawsuit brought by 12 Washington residents under the age of 18 to compel the State to develop and implement an enforceable climate recovery program. The plaintiffs also asked the court to declare that the State’s policies violated their “fundamental and inalienable constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, equal protection, and a healthful and pleasant environment, including a stable climate system.” The court noted that both sides in the case “agree that climate change is an urgent problem,” but that “they disagree on what action should be taken and how quickly it must be done.” The court concluded that issues raised in the case were “quintessentially political questions that must be addressed by the legislative and executive branches of government” and that “cannot appropriately be resolved by a court.” The court indicated that while the plaintiffs had attempted to “avoid the problem of nonjusticiability” by framing a constitutional claim, there was no right to a clean environment found in the Washington State constitution. The court also found that the plaintiffs had not stated a cognizable equal protection claim based on their age. The court said it appreciated the plaintiffs’ “concerns about climate change, and their passion for and commitment to urgent action” and hoped they would not be discouraged and would continue “to help solve the problems related to climate change” by advocating before the political branches. 06/22/2018 Amicus Brief Download Amicus brief filed by environmental groups. 06/22/2018 Amicus Brief Download Amicus brief filed by League of Women Voters of Washington. 06/22/2018 Opposition Download Opposition filed by plaintiffs to motion for judgment on the pleadings. 02/16/2018 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Young People Filed Lawsuit Alleging State of Washington Violated Their Rights by Creating and Supporting Fossil Fuel-Based Energy and Transportation System. Thirteen young people filed a lawsuit in Washington Superior Court alleging that the State of Washington and state agencies and officials violated Washington’s constitution and public trust doctrine through their creation, support, and operation of a “fossil-fuel based energy and transportation system.” The complaint alleged that the plaintiffs “are and will continue to be mutually and adversely impacted by excessive human-caused atmospheric carbon dioxide … concentrations.” The plaintiffs seek declaratory relief, including a declaration that a Washington statute setting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets is facially invalid because it authorizes dangerous levels of carbon dioxide in violation of the plaintiffs’ rights. The plaintiffs also request injunctive relief, including an order requiring the defendants to prepare an accounting of Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions and to develop an “enforceable state climate recovery plan.” 02/16/2018 Letter Download Letter sent to Washington governor by plaintiffs' attorney. The young people’s attorney submitted a letter to Washington’s governor inviting him to meet to discuss ways to achieve “a constitutionally-compliant Climate Recovery Plan that protects the rights of young people and future generations.”