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California children sue US govt over pollution

Childen in California are suing the US government over what they say is its failure to prevent the emission of climate-warming pollution, which has intensified wildfires and made their lives harder
Childen in California are suing the US government over what they say is its failure to prevent the emission of climate-warming pollution, which has intensified wildfires and made their lives harder.

Children in California are suing the US government over its failure to curb pollution, the latest in a series of legal actions by young people around the world worried about climate change.

The youngsters, aged between eight and 17, say the Environmental Protection Agency—the federal regulator—"intentionally allows life-threatening climate pollution to be emitted by the fossil fuel sources of greenhouse gases it regulates, harming and welfare," according to Our Children's Trust, a non-profit law firm.

"Plaintiffs also claim the EPA has discriminated against them as children by discounting the economic value of their lives and their future when it decides whether and how much climate pollution to allow."

The suit, lodged on December 10, asks the to declare the EPA has violated their to equal protection under the law and their fundamental right to life.

One of the litigants, identified only as Genesis because of her age, says she lives in a home without air conditioning that is becoming intolerable as temperatures rise.

"Genesis must keep the windows in her house open in the summer, exposing her to ash from wildfire smoke and more pollen, which worsens her allergies and results in frequent runny noses, coughing, and congestion," Our Children's Trust said on its website.

Another child, identified as Maya, suffers from breathing problems and severe headaches that the suit says are down to the increasing prevalence of wildfires.

"Maya loves to play soccer but is unable to compete as competitively as she would like due to these impacts," the non-profit says.

As well as the EPA, the suit also names the agency's administrator Michael Regan and the United States federal government.

There was no immediate response from the EPA to a request for comment.

The case in California comes after the European Court of Human Rights in September began hearing a complaint brought by six Portuguese youths against 32 nations they accused of not doing enough to stop global warming.

In August, a court in the US state of Montana ruled in favor of a group of youths who accused the state of violating their rights to a clean environment.

That case, which also involved Our Children's Trust, is now subject to appeal from Montana's attorney general.

Our Children's Trust has ongoing cases in Hawaii, Utah, Virginia and Oregon.

© 2023 AFP

Citation: California children sue US govt over pollution (2023, December 16) retrieved 21 May 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2023-12-california-children-sue-govt-pollution.html
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