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“I’m surprised whenever they say [capping carbon] will hurt the economy,” he said. “If we don’t change, there won’t be an economy!”
“[The youths’] very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming,”
The kids don’t consider yesterday’s ruling a total loss. Although Hill denied the petition (on the grounds that Ecology is already undertaking other carbon regulations and that the court lacks the authority to tell Ecology what to consider when developing air quality standards), she affirmed something else: Ecology has the authority and duty to protect air and land quality for future generations, and the kids are constitutionally entitled to a healthy environment. “[The youths’] very survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming,” Hill wrote in her ruling.
“The ball is in Ecology’s court now” says Rodgers, who is happy that Hill’s ruling reinforced the legal arguments Rodgers made to the state. If Ecology’s future rules do not take the well-being of future generations into account, Rodgers said the kids can appeal.
Advocates hope the public visibility and precedent set by the ruling may help similar lawsuits pending throughout the country: There are six suits being brought by kids against states and the federal government right now, all centered on future generations’ rights to a healthy environment.
“You look at the civil rights movement, gay marriage, often times there was one court decision that set them off,” says Rodgers. “This might be a decision that does that.”