7 november 2017

Press release

Hausfeld Files Climate Change Suit On Behalf Of Clean Air Council Against Federal Government

Related Lawyers: Michael D. Hausfeld, Seth R. Gassman, Katie R. Beran, Braden Beard, Michaela Spero

Related Practice Areas: Environmental Threats

Hausfeld, November 6, 2017

November 6, 2017 (Philadelphia, PA) – On behalf of Clean Air Council and two Pennsylvania children, Hausfeld filed suit today in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the federal government to prevent it from rolling back policies, programs, laws, rules, and regulations previously in place to address and ameliorate climate change and its consequences. This pro bono litigation focuses on the federal government’s knowledge (dating back over fifty years) that climate change presents a clear and present danger to life, and represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet.

The United States has experienced a steady increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change, as exemplified most recently by the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the October California wildfires. If not adequately addressed, climate change will cause human deaths, shorten human life spans, result in widespread damage to property, threaten human food sources, drastically affect human air quality, and dramatically alter the planet’s ecosystem to the detriment of the plaintiffs in this case, their children and grandchildren, and all future generations.

The federal government has relied on junk science to implement reckless climate change policies in the face of indisputable U.S. and international scientific consensus. It is the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and welfare of citizens and the life-sustaining resources they depend on. These acts of deliberate indifference are increasing U.S. contributions to climate change, thereby increasing the frequency and intensity of its life-threatening effects, and violating the constitutional rights of all U.S. citizens.

Plaintiffs are leading Philadelphia environmental nonprofit Clean Air Council and two child plaintiffs who have been personally impacted by climate change. The Federal Government Defendants include President Donald Trump, the Department of Energy, Secretary Rick Perry, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Administrator Scott Pruitt.

Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Minott said: “We will not stand idly by while President Trump and his agencies raze crucial environmental protections, ignore climate science, dispute well-documented facts and force future generations of Americans to suffer the consequences of this administration’s reckless choices and ignorant policies. We must hold the federal government accountable for the long-term environmental harm that is propagating under its direction. It’s time to fight back.”

Scientists refer to climate change as the most important issue of our time. Human contribution to climate change, which exacerbates its effects, has reached a critical moment, the consequences of which are potentially irreversible. Hausfeld Chairman Michael D. Hausfeld stated: “By deliberately engaging in this rollback of climate policies and programs, the government is affirmatively endangering the lives and welfare of its citizens.”

This lawsuit comes on the heels of the federal government’s release of the National Climate Assessment, which, in stark contrast to the administration’s environmental policies, affirms that climate change is almost entirely caused by human action and is a growing threat to the United States.

Hausfeld attorneys working on this case include Michael D. Hausfeld, Seth R. Gassman, Katie R. Beran, Braden Beard, and Michaela Spero.


[4C Note: a link to the 62 page "Filed complaint" can be found at the bottom of the Hausfeld press release. The complaint is addressed specifically against Donald Trump, Scott Pruitt (EPA chief) and Rick Perry (Secretary of Energy. The "plaintiffs" are listed in the first part of the complaint as follows:

"Plaintiff Clean Air Council is a member-supported environmental organization headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Council is dedicated to protecting and defending everyone’s right to breathe clean air. The Council works through a broad array of related sustainability and public health initiatives, using public education, community action,government oversight, and enforcement of environmental laws. The Council is currently fighting for strong regulations of carbon dioxide (“CO2”) and methane at both the state and national level.These pollutants make up over 90% of America’s greenhouse gas emissions. Due to its emissions of CO2 and methane, Pennsylvania alone is responsible for a full 1% of the world’sfgreenhouse gasses.

"Plaintiff S.B., by and through his mother and guardian Danecia Berrian, is a seven-year-old citizen of the United States who resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. S.B. is experiencing harm as a result of Defendants’ affirmative acts in causing increased climate change. He suffers from severe seasonal allergies, which cause recurrent nosebleeds and vomiting. S.B.’s medical issues are directly impacted by the climate. He loves to play sports, and increasing temperatures and extreme weather events caused by Defendants’ actions affect his athletic performance and ability to enjoy outdoor activities safely. As a result of the United States Government’s actions, S.B.’s allergy symptoms have been exacerbated and will continue to worsen as climate change becomes more severe. For example, S.B. needed to be hospitalized during Hurricane Irene in 2011, and his mother experiences anxiety during extreme weather events, fearing that he may need to be hospitalized again in the future.

"Plaintiff B.B., by and through his parents and guardians, Thomas and Diane Berman, is an eleven-year-old citizen of the United States who resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania. B.B. is experiencing harm as a result of Defendants’ affirmative acts in causing increased climate change. B.B. is passionate about protecting the environment, and experiences anxiety about the potentially irreversible impact of climate change on the planet and future generations, including his own children and grandchildren. Before moving to the greater Philadelphia area, B.B. resided in New York, and experienced the frightening impact of Super Storm Sandy and Hurricane Irene. B.B. regularly takes notice of news events documenting the consequences of climate change, particularly those he has seen firsthand. For example, he recently was upset to learn that many people in Staten Island, New York are still struggling to rebuild their homes in the wake of Super Storm Sandy. In addition, B.B. suffers from asthma, which is exacerbated by climate change.

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