A group of young people can sue the federal government over its climate change policies, the Supreme Court said Friday. Since it was first filed in 2015, the government has requested several times that Juliana v. United States be dismissed.
"I want to trust that we are truly on track for trial without having further delays," Kelsey Juliana, a 22-year-old plaintiff, said in a statement, "but these defendants are treating this case, our democracy, and the security of mine and future generations like it's a game. I'm tired of playing this game."
The Department of Justice did not respond to NPR's request for comment.
The lawsuit — brought by 21 plaintiffs, many of whom are minors, in U.S. district court in Eugene, Ore. — claims the federal government encouraged the production of oil, gas and other fossil fuels, causing the planet to warm and infringing on several of the plaintiffs' fundamental rights. It lists examples that the government knew the Earth was warming as early as 1965, and it requests a court order for the government to decrease carbon dioxide emissions, as well as creating a national plan to "restore Earth's energy balance" and "stabilize the climate system."
"The breadth of respondents' claims is striking," the Supreme Court had said in an earlier court order. But it said the claims should not be dismissed before going to trial.