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California children sue US govt over pollution

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Children in California have initiated legal action against the US government, specifically targeting the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for its alleged failure to address and control pollution.

The group of young litigants, aged between eight and 17, contends that the EPA intentionally permits life-threatening climate pollution from regulated fossil fuel sources, adversely affecting the health and well-being of children.

Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit law firm, asserts that the EPA’s decision-making process discounts the economic value of the children’s lives and their future, amounting to discrimination against them.

Filed on December 10, the lawsuit calls upon the federal court to declare that the EPA has violated the children’s constitutional rights to equal protection under the law and their fundamental right to life.

Among the litigants is a young girl named Genesis, who, due to rising temperatures and lack of air conditioning in her home, is exposed to ash from wildfire smoke and increased pollen, aggravating her allergies.

Another child, Maya, is said to suffer from respiratory issues and severe headaches attributed to the growing prevalence of wildfires, impacting her ability to participate competitively in activities like soccer.

The legal action not only targets the EPA but also names the agency’s administrator, Michael Regan, and the United States federal government. As of now, there has been no immediate response from the EPA to inquiries for comments on the matter.

This case follows a global trend of young people expressing concerns about climate change through legal channels. In September, the European Court of Human Rights began hearing a complaint by six Portuguese youths against 32 nations for perceived inaction against global warming.

Moreover, in August, a Montana court ruled in favor of youths who accused the state of violating their right to a clean environment, a decision now under appeal by Montana’s attorney general. Our Children’s Trust is actively involved in similar ongoing cases in Hawaii, Utah, Virginia, and Oregon.

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