Description: Lawsuit against United States and other federal defendants asserting constitutional claims to block deregulatory actions by Trump administration.
Clean Air Council v. United States
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 02/19/2019 Memorandum Download Defendants' motion to dismiss granted. Pennsylvania Federal Court Dismissed Lawsuit Challenging Trump Administration’s Climate Change Deregulatory Actions as Unconstitutional. The federal district court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed a lawsuit brought by Clean Air Council and two minors seeking to block the Trump administration’s climate change deregulatory efforts on the grounds that they violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The court concluded that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the plaintiffs’ claims because neither Clean Air Council nor the individual plaintiffs had established standing. Regarding Clean Air Council, the court found that neither the complaint nor an affidavit submitted by the plaintiffs included specific harms suffered by the organization’s members. With respect to the individuals, the court found that while their alleged physical harms constituted particularized and concrete injuries, the injuries were not imminent or certain. The court further found that the alleged injuries could not be traced to the regulatory rollbacks and that a favorable decision by the court would not redress the injuries. In addition, the court said that prudential considerations regarding the separation of powers precluded jurisdiction. In the alternative, the court found that the plaintiffs failed to state a viable claim. The court said there was no legally cognizable due process right to environmental quality, rejecting the plaintiffs’ argument that the right to a life-sustaining climate system was a liberty interest guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. The court said the District of Oregon’s decision to the contrary in Juliana “certainly contravened or ignored longstanding authority.” The court also found that the plaintiffs’ claim did not meet the requirements for a state-created danger claim and that the plaintiffs had not stated a claim of invasion of their due process right to property. In addition, the court held that the Ninth Amendment did not provide substantive rights to sustain the plaintiffs’ action, and that the public trust claim had no basis in law. 01/17/2019 Reply Download Reply filed by plaintiffs in support of motion to reopen discovery for purposes of deposing former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 01/07/2019 Opposition Download Opposition filed by defendants to plaintiffs' motion to reopen discovery for purposes of deposing former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 12/24/2018 Motion Download Motion filed by plaintiffs to reopen discovery for purposes of deposing former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. 12/24/2018 Response Download Plaintiffs filed response to defendants' motion to strike and reply in support of request for status conference. 12/18/2018 Motion Download Motion filed by United States to strike plaintiffs' notice of supplemental authority. 12/05/2018 Notice Download Notice of supplemental authority and request for status conference filed by plaintiffs. 11/21/2018 Notice Download Notice of supplemental authority filed by plaintiffs. 10/16/2018 Response Download Supplemental response filed by plaintiffs to defendants' notice of supplemental authority. 09/19/2018 Response Download Response filed by plaintiffs to defendants' notice of supplemental authority. 09/05/2018 Notice Download Notice of supplemental authority filed by defendants. 05/11/2018 Reply Download Plaintiffs filed sur-reply in opposition to motion to dismiss. 05/03/2018 Order Download Motions to dismiss denied as moot. 05/03/2018 Reply Download Supplemental motion to dismiss and reply to plaintiffs' response to motion to dismiss filed by defendants. 04/19/2018 Response Download Plaintiffs filed response in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss. 03/29/2018 Motion to Dismiss Download Motion to dismiss filed. 03/15/2018 Complaint Download Amended complaint filed. 11/06/2017 Complaint Download Complaint filed. Climate Change-Based Constitutional Claims Filed Against Federal Government in Pennsylvania Federal Court. Clean Air Council and two children filed a federal lawsuit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania asserting claims of due process and public trust violations against the United States, the president, the Department of Energy, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. The complaint seeks a declaration that the defendants cannot implement regulatory rollbacks that increase the frequency of or intensify the effects of climate change “based on junk science in violation of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to a life-sustaining climate system and the public trust doctrine.”